On behalf of Machakos University Council, Management, Staff and Students, I express my hearty gratitude for the Award of Charter to Machakos University during this historic day. Indeed, this is a historic day not just for the Machakos University fraternity, but also for all people of Machakos County, Kenya and the academia at large. The award of Charter to Machakos University College sets the scene for the institution to live true to her Mission “A Model Institution of Higher Learning.” The University undertakes to chart its way skillfully path through the years in line with all the legal requirements, standards and provisions laid down by the Commission for University Education.
The history of this institution dates back to 1957 when the College was founded by the colonial Government as a Technical Rural Training School. Since then, the Institution has undergone tremendous growth and transformation from Machakos Technical and Trade School in 1958, Machakos Technical School in 1967 to Machakos Training Technical Institute in 1987. The Institution was elevated to Machakos University College through Legal Notice No. 130, on 16th September, 2011.
Notable, has been the significant increase in the enrolment of students, which now stands at 6,260 up 2,500 in January 2013 when University academic programmes commenced. The number of staff has also steadily grown from 200 to 380 in the same period.
Guided by well-crafted Strategic Plan and Master Plan, Machakos University College has right from the beginning embarked on a carefully charted path of developing academic programmes and infrastructure. The University College started off with five Schools namely: School of Engineering & Technology, School of Education, School of Tourism & Hospitality Management, School of Business & Economics and School of Humanities & Social Sciences. The institution also continued to run TVET Diploma and Certificate courses. However, the TVET programmes are being gradually phased out and the last lot will be cleared by December 2016.
Recently, the institution has established two more academic units; the School of Agriculture & Natural Resource Management and the School of Pure and Applied Sciences.
The Management and Academic boards have also put in place critical administrative units to complement the governance and administrative structure needed to steer this University to greater heights. As a result, the Schools and departments have inbuilt support systems deliberately designed to harness expertise from professionals within and without to develop and implement market oriented programmes. We have also developed several innovative programmes designed to train graduates equipped with much needed skills required to spur and drive the economy.
Currently, the university has 38 degree programmes in addition to 26 diploma and certificate courses. The Institution has a strong technical background and has therefore built a unique niche in training technical personnel in diverse areas of Civil Engineering, Electrical Electronics Engineering, Fashion Design and Marketing, Hospitality, Business, Education, Agribusiness and Applied Sciences. The university is developing programmes with orientation towards Science, Technology and Innovation, and thus contribute towards the attainment of Vision 2030.
Effort bears fruit. It can be done.
Our academic, governance and administrative system is hinged on staff development and growth. Towards this end, the University is currently in the process of rolling out an ambitious staff development programme. Also notable, in the last two years, the University has crafted and implemented staff insurance medical policy and paid off backlog of salaries occasioned by increment of union bargaining agreement of 2013.
Our focus is predicated upon the intention to be among the best universities in East African region and beyond. Emboldened by this resolve, the University is striving to produce competent human resource crucial to the multifaceted needs of the labour market today.
Growth and new ventures of the magnitude highlighted in the foregoing require impeccable facilities. In the last three years, the University has completed major projects, which include state of the art Hotel Training facility, the Le-Technisch Restaurant, two modern classroom blocks housing Engineering departments and stately lecture theatres. An imposing lecture theatre block is also on the verge of completion. The Tuition Block will comprise 22 laboratories, 20 senior academic staff offices and two common rooms for staff. With availability of funds, it will be complete by July 2016. The Institution has also done a number of small projects funded from internally generated sources. These Include the extended clinic and the Students Centre.
In order to effectively implement academic programmes, we have been able to embark on an aggressive but cautious plan to recruit highly qualified core thematic leaders in areas of strategic academic interest. The Council has approved relevant policies to guide the recruitment process for both academic and administrative staff.
The University encourages staff and students to initiate and participate in activities that involve the surrounding communities. Apart from giving students an opportunity to apply and enhance their knowledge, this enables them to help communities harness their potential and generate strategies to provide solutions to their problems. Community service is a core pillar in our mission as an institution.
The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology places great emphasis on sports, clubs and societies. The University commitment to actualizing this is through the ongoing investment in playing fields and other recreational facilities. This is expected to provide students with opportunities for recreation and for exploring and developing their leadership skills.
Finally. I wish to inform stakeholders that Machakos University College is located in a serene environment conducive to learning, has cut a special niche for itself among the league of institutions of higher learning as an institution with the best equipped workshops in the Country. It is situated in the proximity of the capital city and has the necessary attributes to serve Kenya as a premier University in the service of humankind. As we become a fully-fledged University, we wish to assure the Government and our development partners of the resolve of Council and Management to rededicate our commitment to continuously uphold the virtues of equity, integrity, and accountability and due diligence in leadership. The University will strive to maximize on all its resources to offer quality education and services to its customers for benefit of the community as envisioned in our mission.