Aga Khan University to expand in East Africa 2009-01-27
Dar es Salaam
Aga Khan University to expand
By Vicent Mnyanyika
The Aga Khan University is set to establish an Institute of Educational, Arts and Sciences in Arusha and a Faculty of Health Sciences in Nairobi, Kenya, under its initiative to expand its services in the region.
Under its expansion initiative, the university will develop relevant programmes and curricula to offer diplomas in accident, emergency and disaster management inline with regional and peoples' needs.
This was said by the president of Aga Khan University, Mr Firoz Rasul, in a speech he delivered during the 4th graduation ceremony held in Dar es Salaam yesterday.
He revealed that the planned expansion programme would take ten year to accomplish.
He said the university's educational plan is in response to the human development needs and improving the well-being of people of East Africa through quality education.
"Nursing, medical education and educational development has been given top priority by the university," said Mr Rasul, stating that his highness the Aga Khan commitment to education could be traced back to the basic literacy and numeracy classes established by his father, Sir Sultan Mohammed Shah Aga Khan in Bagamoyo in 1895.
More than 173 graduands were conferred with diploma, bachelors and master degrees, of whom 74 were conferred with diploma in general nursing, 76 bachelors in nursing, 21 were got masters degree in education and one on masters in family medicine.
On the university's achievement, Mr Rasul said the varsity's chancellor, His Highness the Aga Khan, last November met education stakeholders of Canada in a bid to seek support for teachers? education in East Africa.
He said plans are underway to develop the university and if successful, this will be the first private university in East Africa to create a full fledged faculty of medicine, nursing and health sciences.
Meanwhile, the UN Habitant executive director, Prof Anna Tibaijuka who was the chief guest at the graduation ceremony, said in recent years Africa has experienced the highest urbanisation rate in the world growing at 3.3 per cent rate, but access to health and education remains poor.
Dr Tibaijuka said UN Habitat considers access to health and education as among key indicators of progress to sustainable urban development and the fight for sustainability have to be won in the cities.
However, Prof Tibaijuka said with increased urbanisation rate, explosive growth of slums has remained a challenge to Africa and living condition in these slums becoming life threatening.
"Recent studies have shown that poverty and deprivation in urban slums and that urban slums has become a preference of diseases like pneumonia, diarrhea, malaria, measles and HIV/Aids," said Prof Tibaijuka.
Current statistics show that over one billion people on the globe live in slums, of which 62 per cent are in sub-Saharan Africa.