President William Ruto, on Thursday, appointed Dr James Mwangi, the CEO of Equity Group, as the inaugural Chancellor of the first virtual public university in Kenya – the Open University of Kenya (OUK).
During the ceremony at the varsity grounds at Konza Technopolis, Machakos County, President Ruto emphasized the importance of OUK, describing it as a bottom-up university that aims to provide opportunities for ordinary people to traditional university education.
“I was very specific when I told CS Machogu who the chancellor should be, and that is because this is a very important institution. This is a bottom-up institution. It is going to give opportunities to very ordinary people; people from remote places who ordinarily would not afford university education” President Ruto said at the university ground at Konza Technopolis, Machakos County.
“I would like to thank you (Dr Ruto) for giving me the opportunity to serve as the first chancellor of this new university. I’m humbled that you have given me a responsibility to provide this service for this country on your behalf which I humbly accept,” Mwangi said in his acceptance speech.
“You have bestowed on me the trust to perform the function of a chancellor just when my service as the chancellor of Meru University has just ended having served from 2013 to 2023. I can assure you that I will bring the insights that I’ve learnt to this new university.”
Dr Mwangi, known for his expertise as a certified accountant, career banker, and entrepreneur, currently serves as the Group Managing Director and CEO at Equity Holdings. Before this, he held the position of founding chairman of the Kenya Vision 2030 Delivery Board from 2007 to 2019, where he played a crucial role in working towards Kenya’s aspiration of becoming a middle-income country with improved living standards by 2030.
OUK is set to enroll 7,100 students in the first intake next month. The varsity will offer eight online courses in its initial phase. These include degrees and diplomas in cyber security and digital forensics, technology education, business and entrepreneurship, data science, economics, statistics, agriculture technology, and food systems. Additionally, postgraduate diploma courses in leadership and management, as well as learning design and technology, will be offered.
In addition to specialized courses, students at OUK will be required to complete core courses covering topics such as climate change and sustainability, global citizenship, ethics and social cohesion, philosophy, psychology, and basic research.
The varsity will operate under the theme ‘The Innovative University for Inclusive Prosperity’.