Kenya’s Vision 2030 emphasizes quality education and training in Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) in order to make Kenya a middle- income country by 2030 and to improve competitiveness regionally and globally. A key constraint to attainment of the STI goals has been the significant low numbers of qualified teaching staff in the fields of engineering and applied sciences. This has adversely affected the capacity in institutions of higher learning to fill existing vacancies in these fields. The Government of Kenya therefore secured a loan from African Development Bank (AFDB) to Support Enhancement of Quality and Relevance in Higher Education Science and Technology. HEST is a five year project aimed at contributing to Kenya’s human capital skills development capacity building particularly in education, science and technology, to respond to labor market demands and spur productivity nationally. The HEST project objective is to improve equitable access, quality and relevance of skills training and research eading to job creation and self-employment.
Kenyatta University through the School of Pure and Applied Sciences was competitively selected to be a consultant in the HEST project, to strengthen and improve its capacity to train and mentor a large number of postgraduate students in applied sciences. Kenyatta University was selected to train 31 PhDs and 23 Msc’s in Chemistry and Physics.
This training component will support capacity building of existing staff in engineering and applied sciences at Masters and PhD levels. Training approach will be conducted through a blended training mode that utilizes the local teaching faculty, industry experts and faculty from collaborating institutions from within Africa and abroad that are already supporting the faculties as part time lectures and supervisors. PhD students will carry out research that is relevant to the vision 2030 key sectors. The existing partnership with the Kenya Private Sector Alliance will be explored to enhance meaningful industrial attachments, research and development of incubation centers. The HEST project will not only provide the requisite numbers but also enhance quality of the graduates in these fields. To promote women participation in science and engineering, a deliberate effort was made to ensure that a third of the total number of trainees are women.