By Michael Opiyo
Umma University held its 4th graduation ceremony virtually due to prevailing Covid -19 challenges in the country.
The Vice Chancellor Dr. Idle O. Farah said the Covid-19 protocols raised by Ministry of Health affected the intake of students in all universities.
He said the pandemic caused the Ministry of Education to postpone the Kenya Certificate Secondary Education exams from November 2020 to March 2021 which interrupted the trimester intake.
He added that there was low response to new admissions in last year’s intake though the learning was carried out online after the government banned physical learning in universities countrywide after the outbreak of coronavirus.
“The universities have been affected by the postponement of the Form 4 exams from March to November 2020,” he said.
That meant that there were practically no admissions in January and May 2021 trimesters but he is however, optimistic that the university will have a major intake in September 2021.
Graduands were awarded degrees, diplomas and certificates in various disciplines during the graduation ceremony held at Umma University, Main Campus in Kajiado, Kajiado County.
The VC appealed for the support of the government through the Ministry of Education over the Competency Based Curriculum (CBC) and TSC new guide line on the teaching courses.
He said that currently they faces challenges in the Kenya Basic Education Curriculum that is changing from 8-4-4 curriculum to the newly introduced Competence Based Curriculum.
By 2023, the first cohort of CBC students will be in junior high
school and they will require graduate teachers trained in CBC. The VC added that the School of Education is working hard to review their current approved curriculum so that it can be infused with the skills required for CBC teachers.
However, the greatest concern to him is the recent proposal submitted by the Teachers Service Commission TSC to discontinue the Bachelor of Education Degree program.
Instead TSC proposes that the students will pursue a general Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts course for 3years and then later on undertaken a one year post graduate Diploma
The VC noted that universities are engaging the government through the Dean of Schools of Education and Vice chancellors’ forum in liaison with Commission for University Education for a concrete and comprehensive response on the issue to ensure academic freedom in universities is not interfered with.
The Umma University Chancellor Dr. Abbas Gullet said the Covid-19 pandemic and economic challenges are a facing all across the globe.
He said there is decline empowerment openings and opportunities for entrepreneurship.
“Do not be discouraged but keep a sense of positive attitude and faith and learn the higher purpose of life,” he said.
He told the graduates that they had the courage to faced challenges of university education.
“Let you apply the mind, charter and hard work to conquer the world,” said the Chancellor.
The Vice-chancellor also congratulated the graduates and urged them to have discipline, integrity and work hard to prosper in life, become the innovators of real change in the society at large and be ambassador of the university.
In counting down the milestone the university had made since its inception, he said there is clear indication of improvement in terms of academic and infrastructure.
He added that the 4th graduation was very remarkable in their calendar because the first group sponsored by government. Had graduated at Umma University
“I’m further pleased to report that we are having three pioneer groups graduating today in Masters in Islamic Studies, the first government sponsored graduates and those with Certificate in Community Health under the School of Nursing,” said VC.
He added that the Kenya University and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS) has included the courses in their portal for students to select them as their career choice and they are optimistic to have the first admission for the September 2021 intake.
Umma University has steadily engaged in inactive in local and international research in collaboration with partners to empower the students with required skills and technology for better of the nation and beyond.