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November 17, 2018

Champion public interest, scholar tells universities

Mount Kenya University Founder and  Chairman  prof. Simon Gicharu { third right} with  Prof. Andrew Briggs a researcher  from  Oxford University and other participants during Christian and scientific Association of Kenya{ CSAK}  Conference  held at sweet lake resort in Naivasha. /COURTESY
Mount Kenya University Founder and Chairman prof. Simon Gicharu { third right} with Prof. Andrew Briggs a researcher from Oxford University and other participants during Christian and scientific Association of Kenya{ CSAK} Conference held at sweet lake resort in Naivasha. /COURTESY

Universities should guide citizens on matters of public interest, a scholar has said.

Francis Muregi of Mount Kenya University said controversies that have been experienced in the country in the past require universities to be active players and not spectators.

He gave examples of debates about genetically modified organisms and some churches opposed to immunisation on the grounds that it is a form of birth control.

Muregi spoke during a two-day Christian and Scientific Association of Kenya conference in Naivasha on Thursday.

The theme for the conference was: 'Interaction of science and religion in Africa: Current and future perspectives.'

"Universities must do away with systems that hinder interdisciplinary interactions. I don’t understand why fields like social sciences, philosophy and theology cannot be housed in the same space with biomedical specialties. This is the only way we shall begin to address in a holistic manner the social challenges of our people," Muregi said.

MKU founder Simon Gicharu reiterated the institution’s commitment to fund the CSAK. The association has more than 270 members from 38 academic and two research institutions.

During the conference, Marion Mutwiri from Pan Africa Christian University was awarded Sh100,000 after emerging the winner of the CSAK 2017 essay competition.

Daniel Lagat from Moi University received Sh60,000 as first runners up while Benson Wachira from Kenyatta University received Sh40,000 as second runners up.

MKU Vice Chancellor Stanley Waudo called on universities to embrace the principle of continual improvement as the only way to beat the current competition as a result of existence of many universities in the country.

Kenya has 32 public universities and 41 private universities whose admission capacity remains unfilled after the public institutions admitting all candidates who attained the minimum requirements.

Private universities must compete for candidates with indirect university entry qualifications such as Diploma qualifications, Waudo said.

 

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