Kisii University is banking on internal and international collaborations to offer highly competitive training and stay afloat at a time universities are facing financial challenges.
Last month, Kisii University Vice Chancellor led a delegation visit to the United States of America (USA) with a view to foster research, renew partnerships and collaborations.
The team visited University of Minnesota, Minnesota Kenyan International Development Association (MKIDA), Minnesota State University – Mankato and Books for Africa.
Kisii University and University of Mankato signed an amended Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to expand opportunities for collaboration to all colleges in the two Universities.
It also provides the option for students of both institutions to complete up to two years of study abroad.
In different months of 2021, Kisii University also signed Memoranda of Understanding with University of Kentucky, Florida, Durban University of Technology, South-Africa, Sheffield Hallam University, United Kingdom and University of Gondar in Ethiopia.
School of Medicine
The University’s School of Medicine is attracting students from all over the country.
During the year the school was among the only three in the country that fulfilled the basic requirements for training of medical students.
“This is according to the East African States Corporations Partner States and National Medical and Dentists Practitioners Board and Council in an inspection done earlier this year,” Kisii University Vice Chancellor Prof John Akama says.
“This comes only a few years after the university got fully accredited by the Kenya Medical and Dentists Practitioners Board to offer the programme.
Recently, the School of Medicine launched two new programmes approved and accredited by the Commission for University Education (CUE); Bachelors of Medicine Bachelors of Surgery (MBChB) and Bachelors of Pharmacy.
In July, the SHS was put in the world map when President Uhuru Kenyatta and the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson signed the Kenya-UK Health Care Alliance.
The University was identified as the site for developing a Centre for Excellence in Health Care training which will include a world class Hospital with training linked to the curriculum at the University of Manchester.
The MoU with Manchester and the laying of the foundation stone will occur within the first two months of 2022.
School of Law
The School of Law has cut a special niché in legal training in Kenya, East Africa and the entire world, licensed for the first time by the Council of Legal Education to offer legal training starting 2nd October, 2012.
“Since 2017 and based on the excellent performance of the school’s graduands in the bar examinations at the Kenya School of Law, the School remains the leading law school in the country,” Prof Akama says.
“Recently one of the school’s graduands was the best LLM candidate at Loyola Law School (USA), as a result of which he was awarded full scholarship to undertake doctoral studies at Harvard University.”
The school is the only public law school in the country accredited to offer the diploma in law programme, a popular programme that attracts students from all parts of the country, especially those intending to join the LLB programme upon completion of the former.
The university has also trained over 400 students on mental health and undertaken a series of training on Youth and Women Empowerment. It targeted over 600 students on areas such as skill acquisition, social entrepreneurship and volunteering.
“We are confident that this will result in improved social skills, academic achievement and self-efficacy,” the VC assured.
According to the University Council chairperson, Dr Mildred Mudany, the institution has made efforts to enhance utilization of Information, Communication, Technology and Innovation and integrated the same in teaching, learning and research, which are the core mandates of the University.
These efforts ensured minimal program disruptions during the COVID-19 outbreak.
“The university recently acquired high-definition servers to streamline and maximize the use of our network resources,” Dr Mudany says.
The ICT department is utilizing the acquired resources to implement Active Directory; a technology that provides high response rates, reliability and authentication to ensure accountability of all network users and connected equipment. Furthermore, with this equipment, the ICT Department will scale up its systems to incorporate user services such as common resource sharing like centralized printing.
The council is well aware that just like other universities, Kisii University has to look for more revenue streams to run its activities.
Centre for Innovation
Recently, the Council approved the establishment of the Kisii University Centre for Innovation Limited (KICI Ltd), a special purpose vehicle which will oversee mobilization of resources for the University.
The Council has also established linkage and strategic collaborations with corporations like KENGEN, which has committed to fund research activities by the University.
Kisii University International Centre for Innovation has also been established to inculcate and tap into the University’s underlying opportunities in manufacturing, Agribusiness, Medical Services, Consultancy, Collaborations and any other viable business ventures that the University will engage in to enhance sustainable growth.
Currently, the Innovation Centre is manufacturing Drinking Water under the brand name “Aquamax”.
“In agribusiness, the University has established a Dairy Model Farm at Nyosia. The farm currently has 19 pedigree animals and it is envisaged that the farm will increase the number of dairy animals to 400 to enable milk processing and value addition,” Dr Mudany says.
The University supports programs exchange among the teaching staff as one of the avenues which will enhance academic standards through the cross pollination of ideas amongst participating institutions.
Exchange programs also promote cultural exchange and the general education of staff and students through exposure to diverse types of learning environments and styles of teaching.
An ongoing program at the University enables international scholars with different expertise from diverse International Universities under the Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program (CADFP) to be residents at Kisii university.
The University is in the process of completing the 2nd phase of the ICT and learning business centre specifically the Amphitheatre and business centre, which will be key in the establishment of business incubation centres.
“Completion of these development projects will increase teaching and research spaces for students and faculty members,” says Dr. Mudany.
Acting DVC Academics, Research and Student Affairs, Prof Anakalo Shitandi says that the continuing improvement of the ICT infrastructure is indeed seeing the University extend its presence in the virtual space.
“In addition to teaching, learning and examination, academic administrative functions are being handled virtually,” Prof Shitandi confirms.
He said that the introduction of the Self-care System hosted on the university website has enabled students to register online and also facilitated staff to access various services remotely.
DVC Planning, Administration and Finance, Prof Joseph Mailutha, says that the university’s achievements have not been without challenges.
Prof Mailutha admits that when all learning institutions were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the University fraternity was uncertain of the impact the pandemic would have on learning and to what extent learning institutions would be affected.
“In order to resume studies, Kisii University Management Board provided for effective and efficient e-learning infrastructure that has enabled us to successfully complete the academic year, and today we witness another graduation ceremony,” the DVC says.
The university has also obtained various grants, hosted several conferences and will soon start and Institute of African Studies. It remains a haven of excellence.