Speaking remarks for Dr. Kevit Desai, Chair, Board of Trustees USIU-Africa and Principal Secretary, State Department of Vocational Training and Technical Education, Ministry of Education during the launch of the Institute of Higher Education, Research and Leadership Development on 30 January, 2019 at USIU-Africa

The University Council
The Board of Trustees
Management Board
The Vice-Chancellor,
Prof. Paul Zeleza
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

Good Afternoon

I am delighted to join USIU-Africa as it launches the Institute of Higher Education, Research and Leadership Development. A first of its kind in Kenya, the institute will develop a governance program for senior leadership organs of Higher Education institutes, develop functional programs for middle level managers, develop a program for building capacity of policy makers and teachers involved in developing and implementing competency based curriculum, hold policy dialogues on higher education, develop a research center dedicated to research on higher education. The launch of this visionary institute is timely and a true statement that we can achieve transformation in Kenya’s education sector across all levels. Higher education experts in Kenya have come together to respond to a growing need for such an institute. Ladies and Gentlemen The government will partner with institutions of higher learning to ensure that we achieve this transformation. As our implementing partners, we encourage universities to explore public-private partnerships that will see the growth of the education sector. Other institutions have taken this deliberate decision to transform the higher education space. For example, the Chair for Critical Studies in Higher Education Transformation (CriSHET) at the University of Nelson Mandela in South Africa and the International Centre for Higher Education Management (ICEM) at Bath University in The United Kingdom. These institutes have been able to provide strategic leadership in the management of universities and provide guidance to undertake cutting edge research in Africa and across the world. There is a need for global collaboration that will address gaps in higher education which include dwindling enrolment numbers, low uptake of research, funding challenges among others. This institute at USIU-Africa will respond to existing gaps that must be filled and addressed locally. Ladies and Gentlemen Today, growth in the higher education sector in Africa has enabled the youth access to university education. However, the quality of education has not matched this growth to enable these institutions contribute to impactful research, develop and enhance employability skills of graduates and attract funding. In addition, this growth lacks higher education professionals that can effectively deliver on their mandate. Currently, there is a mismatch between the administration and the academic arms in universities. In most cases, the administration arm of the university is not well equipped to handle challenges in higher education. Professionals in human resources, marketing, accounting, fundraising and other critical sectors that are instrumental in the everyday running of higher education institutions must be prepared and trained to achieve this transformation. Ladies and Gentlemen It is in this light that governance and management of higher education institutions must be prioritized. To turn around the challenges in higher education sector and turn them into opportunities will only be achieved if we prioritized transformation in the education sector. Good governance principals of accountability, transparency, and effectiveness are a major factor in improving the quality of education must be employed in the running of universities in order to improve our global rankings, increase research outputs and produce quality graduate that can compete on a global scale. Ladies and Gentlemen We must be able to prepare our graduates for the future who will drive the Big Four Agenda. In addition, Vision 2030 recognizes the importance of linking education to the labor market, create opportunities through entrepreneurship and to strengthen public-private partnerships. Competencies in all areas of study will be required to spur grow in the economy. We must therefore strengthen universities, initiate policy dialogues that will address these challenges, increase funding and conduct aggressive research in emerging areas. And Finally, Ladies and Gentlemen As USIU-Africa celebrates 50 years of academic excellence, this institute feeds into their vision to be a premier institution of academic excellence with a global perspective. Let us celebrate with USIU-Africa as they launch the institute of Higher Education, Research and Leadership Development. Congratulations! Thank You.

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