Education CS Dr Fred Matiang’i says his ministry will fund research and innovation across the country.
The ministry will disburse Sh20 million towards this venture geared to support learners in the country.
Dr Matiang’i said the kitty adds up to the Sh3 billion project funding from the French Government that will be given out to local universities at 7 percent interest rate to support research and development.
This, he says is a measure of addressing the challenges arising from the shortage of qualified personnel in the scientific and technical fields.
His announcement comes in the wake of the World Bank statistics which have established that Africa with 13.4 percent of the world’s population contributes barely 1.1 percent of scientific researchers in the world, with just one scientist or engineer per 10,000 inhabitants.
“The resulting shortage of qualified faculty in African universities, especially in the scientific and technical fields affects the quality of graduates entering the industry workforce,” said Dr Matiang’i.
He reiterated that his ministry is also implementing policies to boost enrolment in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) courses from the current dismal average of 22 percent.
“The government is at advanced stages to implement the Differentiated Unit Cost of funding that will allow the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) to disburse loans to students depending on the actual cost of the courses,” Matiang’i said.
He added that the country has also adopted a joint Partnership for Skills in Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology (PASET) in a bid to up skilled scientists and innovators.
PASET is a Regional Scholarship and Innovation Fund that seeks to create a critical mass of highly skilled scientists and innovators in ASET fields and targets to train about 10,000 African PhD holders in 10 years.