Amina Mohamed, Kenya’s cabinet secretary for education, urged universities to confront challenges through innovative collaborations with industry players.
PIC: Delegates have a lighter moment after the forum
NAIROBI - In a rapidly changing world, East African universities have been urged to adopt creative ways of interacting with industry to further faster integration of the regional bloc.
The salient theme of the Academia-Public-Private Partnership Forum, organised by the Inter-University Council for East Africa (IUCEA), East African Business Council and the East African Development Bank is that universities need to adapt faster to a changing world.
The forum ended on Thursday at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa in the Kenya capital, Nairobi.
Amina Mohamed, Kenya's cabinet secretary for education, urged universities to confront challenges through innovative collaborations with industry players.
"These challenges include low levels of public funding for academic research, curriculum that is poorly aligned with the changing needs of our knowledge-based economies, declining quality and inadequate infrastructure," Mohamed said.
Peter Munya, Kenya's cabinet secretary for the East African Community and Northern Corridor, said quality education will be key in the transformation of East Africa.
"The Heads of State have laid the foundation for competence mobility through the declaration of the East African Community as a common higher education area in May last year. This declaration provides a framework for us to bring together our sovereign states' mutual interests and common goals through a higher education system characterised by compatible and harmonised standards," he said.
Kirunda Kivejinja, the chairperson of the East African Community Council of Ministers urged universities to go beyond simply outing research, but go a step further and ensure that the research impacts the society.
"I want to urge you to ensure that research and innovation outputs generated from these projects are converted into tangible and impactful product and services for socio-economic developments of our region. As you do this, be guided by the knowledge that the benefits of successful research studies can be meaningful only if the results are converted into marketable and consumable goods," Kivejinja said.
Prof. Alexandre Lyambabaje, the executive secretary of IUCEA, urged governments to help universities protect data and intellectual property so that universities can start commercialising outputs of research done back home.
He also called on leaders of the private sector to open their doors to working with universities because of the symbiotic nature of their existence.
"Private sector is looking for skilled competent graduates. We need to start working together, one of the contributions they (private sector) can make is to establish strong research units so that we can get high quality industrial attachments and on-job training from higher institutions of learning in our communities."