Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i has called for public-private partnerships to spur the sector.
Dr Matiang’i said such partnerships would provide more opportunities for the youth to commercialise their talents and skills.
In a speech read on his behalf by Dr Meshack Opwora from the Education ministry during the Meru University of Science and Technology (Must) graduation, he said: “Kenya needs highly skilled professionals with specialized knowledge in science, technology, engineering and mathematics to be able to meet human capital needs for the growing industry.”
He lauded Equity Bank’s ‘Wings to Fly’ programme that sponsors needy but bright children to transition to secondary school.
The initiative has been extended to learners undertaking the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) courses.
“It’s worth noting the great impact the Wings to Fly programme is making on the lives of poor households in this country.
“The support provided to marginalized children to pursue TVET will result in raising their standards of living as they will be included in industrial take off,” he said in the speech.
About 1,262 students graduated.
Equity Bank Chief Executive James Mwangi said most public universities are operating in an insolvency state as the funds provided by the government are not enough to sustain their operations.
He said it is important for private business entities to contribute to the growth and development of institutions of higher learning.
“The government has traditionally been the sole source of funding for public utilities, universities included.
“The government has promised to improve the situation by increasing university funding through the Differentiated Unit Cost system for different programmes,” Dr Mwangi said.
In 2013, Dr Mwangi – who is also the chancellor – made a personal contribution of Sh100 million to the institute to facilitate the construction of an innovation centre.
Already, the first phase of the building is complete.
In a interview with Business Daily, he said “My hope is that this donation will help evolve and develop a model university”.