On Thursday, President William Ruto named Equity CEO James Mwangi as the Chancellor of Kenya’s inaugural virtual public university, the Open University of Kenya (OUK) located at Konza Technopolis.
Speaking after awarding the government-funded varsity its Charter, Ruto expressed his unwavering confidence in Mwangi, emphasizing his belief in the CEO’s exceptional leadership abilities.
The President mentioned that he specifically handpicked the businessman for his dedication to championing access to education through Equity’s Wings To Fly scholarship program.
“For the appointment of the Chancellor of the Open University of Kenya, I was specific when I told CS Machogu who I wanted to be. I know that with his stewardship, the university is safe,” Ruto said.
“I didn’t give you options to say No because I have seen your passion for education. I am proud that we will be prouder of your stewardship as chancellor of the Open University of Kenya,” he added.
Ruto described the virtual public university as a source of great pride, as the project he had envisioned during his tenure as the Higher Education Minister finally came to fruition.
“When I began this process when I was minister for Higher Education, I wanted to complete it within a year but I couldn’t because of the circumstances then and I am happy we made this a part of the Kenya Kwanza commitment. It is a very proud moment for me to see this coming to fruition,” he stated.
Ruto hailed the virtual university as a game-changer, emphasizing its potential to provide university education to individuals who would typically lack access, particularly from remote regions across the country.
“Our entire university capacity, in 41 public and 37 private universities, admits 650,638 students in total and remains unable to keep up with the growing demand. Every year, therefore, many eligible and interested young people are unable to enroll for university courses,” he said.
Ruto stated that the establishment of the Open University of Kenya (OUK) serves as an intervention to enhance accessibility and reduce the cost of university education, aligning with his government’s vision of achieving a 100 per cent transition to higher education.
The President mentioned that the facility required an investment of over Ksh. 100 billion for its establishment.
“The power generation facility alone is like Ksh.1.9 billion, together with all the other pieces of infrastructure that have gone here,” Ruto said.
The virtual university will offer a diverse range of courses, including Bachelor of Cyber Security and Digital Forensics, Bachelor of Data Science, Bachelor of Technology Education, Bachelor of Science in Business and Entrepreneurship, Bachelor of Statistics, and Bachelor of Science in Agriculture and Food Systems.
“The University also offers postgraduate diplomas in Leadership and Accountability as well as Learning Design and Technology. I have been assured that in coming years, master’s and doctorate programmes will be introduced,” Ruto said.