Researchers attending the second multi-sectoral conference on Science, Technology and Innovation had asked the Ministry of Education to explain why it had consistently underfunded research.

The researchers, who lecture in public universities, said students carry out research projects in deplorable conditions using dilapidated and outdated infrastructure.

“Government of Kenya is committed to fostering the science, technology and innovation industry as a key sector in the bottom-up economic transformation agenda,” Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu told delegates in a  state

ment that was read by Chief Administrative Secretary in the ministry Fredrick Ndambuki.

Machogu said the government had established a presidential advisory council which, when fully operational, will guide on how technology can be used to address challenges in critical areas, including national security, public safety, health and climate change mitigation.

“This will contribute towards transforming our country into a globally competitive digital nation,” he said.

At the ministerial level, Machogu said they recently constituted national research, technology and innovation committee which will enable the ministry to create full partnership with local and international stakeholders.

“That committee has covered a lot of ground since inception which was officiated by the Cabinet Secretary (Machogu) by identifying stakeholders in this sector. When the engagement begins, we hope to close the technological gap between Kenya and the developed countries,” he added.

The CS told the delegates that his ministry had tapped into the potential of the youth to participate fully in the digital transformation.

One of the flagship projects of the Kenya Kwanza administration is the establishment of Open University of Kenya which is going to make university education accessible and affordable to Kenyans.

The four-day conference, which is organised by National Commission for Science, Technology, and Innovation (NACOSTI), aims to facilitate a multifaceted forum of national discourse to chart Kenya’s technology-driven and innovation-led inclusive sustainable development agenda.

It will also provide an international platform for sharing best practices and networking in areas of science technology and innovation-based public safety, climate change mitigation, environmental preservation, among others.