PM Raila Challenges Universities to harness the benefits of research for the benefit of our people.
Written by PMPS
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Prime Minister Raila Odinga during the opening of the 4th Annual International Conference at Masinde Muliro University of Science & Technology. [Photos | PMPS]
The Prime Minister Raila Odinga has challenged universities to expose students to the practical dimension of science and research, saying this would create successive generations of scientists and researchers to help the country solve its problems.
He expressed the need to increase the country’s pursuit for science and technology, invest in technological innovation and research, saying this was the way to meet the challenges.
The Prime Minister was speaking today at Masinde Muliro University of Science & Technology (MMUST) during the 2012 annual conference whose theme was: Action Research in Higher Education and Development in Africa.
He, however emphasized that the country must invest in hands-on learning that enable young people get their hands dirty as they attain practical experience in industrial attachments and field activities geared at research and innovation.
“We must create avenues for young people to have a chance to build and create things thereby creating a chance for our children to be creators and not just the consumers of innovations,” he noted.
Dr. Odinga said the government continues to allocate more revenue into investments in scientific education, and hire teachers in Math, Engineering, Science and Technology.
At the same time, the PM challenged educational, training and research institutions to devise creative ways of encouraging young people to engage in science, technology and engineering and to encourage regional governments to invest in these fields.
“I strongly believe that for us to secure our place as a nation and a Continent, we must make investments that will move our countries out of the bottom and to the middle of the pack in science and technology in next decade,” the Prime Minister said.
He said institutions of higher learning in Africa should through research support initiatives to foster African enterprise that will extend the benefits of economic growth to all members of society.
Dr.Odinga noted that the lives and livelihoods of Africa’s people are shaped to a great extent by the vitality of its economy how easily workers can find gainful and fulfilling employment, how readily businesses can clear bureaucratic hurdles and find capital to grow, and how broadly prosperity is shared.
The Premier stated that reforms at the national level could go a long way in expanding these opportunities.
He called for greater public investment in education and training, to cultivate a more productive and innovative workforce.
But at the same time, he said learning institution should inculcate entrepreneurial spirit in the student to enable them to be employment creators.
On global trade, he regretted that Africa’s relationship to the international economy presents acute challenges that research can seek to address.
“Although the continent is home to 13 percent of the world's population, it commands less than two percent of world trade and less than one percent of global investment.”
He said that fostering African enterprise and entrepreneurship can help the continent overcome its heavy reliance on businesses rooted overseas.
“We need to increase intra-Africa trade because as we stand now Africa trades more with other continents than itself,” he said.
The PM said that already many African nations are growing their economies at a rapid pace, and investors are beginning to take notice.
He observed that while creating new wealth is critical, it must be done sustainably and equitably in ways that minimize environmental impacts.
Dr.Odinga said that research will go a long way in finding solutions to health challenges like the increase in lifestyle diseases in the society.