Historic varsity programme launched in Kenya
From MARIA MACHARIA in Nairobi, Kenya
NAIROBI, (CAJ News) – PUBLIC policy practitioners and students in Africa now have a chance to study a specialised Masters course offered in 12 universities, and uniquely designed to meet the continent’s needs.
The programme has been launched in Nairobi.
The Master of Research and Public Policy (MRPP) has been developed over the last three years through collaboration between the Partnership for African Social and Governance Research (PASGR) and 12 African universities.
The course, the first of its kind in Africa, prepares students for careers in diverse fields, including: Government, universities, think tanks, research organisations, civil society organisations, media and development agencies.
The course content was developed by academics from the partner universities, with input from scholars from respected European public policy institutions.
It equips students to identify and address national developmental challenges and issues that affect people in their daily lives, such as security, management of natural resources, hunger, HIV/AIDS and women’s empowerment.
The programme has already been rolled out in eight universities where 150 have enrolled, with the first cohort set to graduate next year. It is being offered in Egerton and Maseno universities in Kenya; University of Dar es Salaam and Mzumbe in Tanzania; Jos, and Ibadan universities in Nigeria; and Ugandan Christian and Ugandan Martyrs universities.
Cabinet Secretary for the National Treasury, Henry Rotich, and the Chief Justice, Dr Willy Mutunga, presided over the launch.
Other dignitaries at the event were: The deputy chair of the Education Committee in the Kenyan Parliament, Hon Julius Kibiwott Melly, vice chancellors and academics, and PASGR Board member Amb Prof Judith Bahemuka. Students already enrolled in the programme, researchers and policy practitioners from NGOs, development partners and PASGR staff attended.
“The Research option familiarises students with the use of data to undertake policy research or pursue advanced scholarship, while Policy Practice equips students to use research to influence, inform or shape public policy. MRPP is one of the key pillars of our community of practice and thought working together to build excellence in research, training and higher education for public policy in Africa,” said Prof Tade Akin Aina, the Executive Director of PASGR.
Rotich noted that effective public policy could only be a reality if the people in charge possessed a deep understanding of the challenges that face Africa, based on solid and credible research.
“Having seen the course content of this new programme, I have no doubt the MRPP will contribute towards efficient, effective and transparent public policy,” Rotich said.
Melly challenged governments in Africa to enrol their staff for the new programme and offer opportunities to those students seeking work experience.
“I strongly commend the attention paid to relevance of this course as well as the innovative learning approaches. These are valuable learning lessons for us as we grapple with the dilemma of the mismatch between education and the labour market, and the diminishing quality of education,” he added.
Mutunga stated that research was key to identifying African interests, and that the continent’s interests should in turn inform Africa’s relations with the West.
– CAJ News
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