Wednesday, 12 November 2008

KENYA: Catholic University Urges States to Help Poor Youth

NAIROBI, October 3, 2008 (CISA) -Kenyan and other African governments should consider providing loans that will fully cover essential needs of NEEDY students at universities, the chancellor of the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA) has said.Malawian Bishop Tarcisio Ziyaye said accessing university education remained a key challenge for young people from poor families.“I request the Kenyan government and all other African governments to consider funding loan schemes that will fully cover the essential needs of students at universities,” Bishop Ziyaye said.While appreciating the higher education loans scheme already in place in Kenya, the bishop said “more can still be done to give greater peace of mind to the beneficiaries of these loans.” He also thanked companies and other organisations that support students at the university.Bishop Ziyaye was speaking on Friday during CUEA’s 23rd graduation ceremony in Nairobi. A total of 1,441 students received degrees and diplomas. Prime Minister Raila Odinga was the chief guest.The chancellor said he was grateful to the Government of Kenya for its support of the university since it was founded 24 years ago. “We in the church always count on government support as a major partner in the provision of higher education.”Addressing the new graduates, he said the education they had received prepared them to serve anywhere in the world, but they should consider serving countries first. “Let your country be your homepage. Africa cannot develop without you. Africa needs you. Therefore devote your youthful expertise in serving the motherland.”The fresh graduates should not just be job seekers but also agents of change by sharing their knowledge and time with others.On his part Prime Minister Odinga assured of the governement’s commitment to higher education. “The coalition government is committed to expansion and improvement of university education and to make it accessible and affordable to everyone irrespective of their social status.” The government, he further pledged, will invest more money in research.Bishop Ziyaye announced that CUEA’s silver jubilee will commence on February 9, 2009. The university started as a graduate school of theology known as the Catholic Higher Institute of Eastern Africa (CHIEA) in 1984, founded by the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences of Eastern Africa (AMECEA).

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