SPEECH BY PROF. GEOFFREY M. MULUVI, PHD, VICE CHANCELLOR, SOUTH EASTERN KENYA UNIVERSITY ON THE OCCASION OF THE MATRICULATION OF FIRST YEAR STUDENTS ON FRIDAY, 3RD SEPTEMBER 2021
Deputy Vice-Chancellors, Registrars,
Deans and Directors, Chairs of Departments,
Teaching and administrative staff,
Members of the Students’ Governing Council, Freshmen and women
Ladies and gentlemen,
On behalf of the Council, the Senate, Management, staff and students of South Eastern Kenya University, and on my own behalf, I take this opportunity to convey our hearty congratulations to our news students, who have been admitted to the University for various academic programmes.
This is a great achievement that gives you reason to rejoice. But I hasten to add this is just but the beginning. I hope you will give your parents, guardians the fullness of joy by making a successful exit from this University at the end of your stay here.
Ladies and gentlemen, ordinarily we would have held this ceremony in an open face-to-face setting where we would freely interact with one another. This virtual meeting has been necessitated by the prevailing COVID-19 situation which has become a world-wide problem. The virtual meeting is one of the steps the University adopted to ensure the safety of all. While the University has put in place all the necessary measures to combat the pandemic, it remains, in large part, the onus of all of us individually to ensure we follow all the laid down protocols governing our conduct in relation to the pandemic.
Dear freshmen and women,
As I welcome you to SEKU, let me take this opportunity to assure you that you have made the right choice by coming here. Over the years the University, in its pursuit of excellence, has realised major milestones in its quest to grow into a formidable citadel of training, research and innovation.
As you have noticed, we are largest university in terms of land mass. The main campus of the University sits on expansive 10,000 acre land with a peaceful atmosphere conducive for your studies. We are cushioned from the interruptive hassle and bustle of urban life, making SEKU a most conducive environment for learning and research. We have three other campuses in Kitui Town, Wote Town and Mtito-Andei, which, although situated in urban setting, are well isolated to ensure minimal interruption.
Since its inception the University has achieved key milestones in its efforts to build a brand as a citadel of training, research and innovation. In the last Government performance contract evaluation, SEKU was graded 5th among all the public Universities. We were also number 15 in the Webometric ranking among all the universities in the country – both public and private. South Eastern Kenya University is ISO 9001-2015 certified, which means that we strictly adhere to laid down quality standards in all services including delivery of teaching.
Over the years, the University has put up several state-of-the-art facilities in all our campuses. We have adequate lecture theatres, halls and rooms, science and computer laboratories, as well as libraries, which will guarantee you easy learning and overall stay in SEKU. Moreover, the University is now easily accessible from the main Machakos-Kitui road. The newly completed SEKU-Kwa Vonza road is a major boost to your academic and social life as you can now move in and out of the Campus without worry about transport.
We have also invested heavily in ICT and the University is connected through fibre-optic, which has enabled us to have Internet access within the Campuses. I am happy to inform you that, arising from the COVID-19 outbreak, we have digitised our curricula, making it possible to engage in blended learning for ease of content delivery. This teaching method will come in handy for large classes especially for the common courses.
I wish to assure you that we have qualified staff in all areas. Most of our lecturers are PhD holders and are specialised in their areas. All the lecturers strictly follow the university quality assurance guidelines in course delivery and are willing to assist our students to reap maximum benefits from their interaction.
We guarantee you that you will get your degrees within the stipulated time – which is four years for undergraduate, two years for masters and three years for PhD. SEKU is a peaceful community with no student unrest or industrial actions by staff, a fact that has ensured that our students complete their studies within the stipulated time period.
As I have mentioned, today marks a major turning point in your academic journey. It is a moment full of great expectations and dreams not only on your part, but also on the part of all those who surround your lives – your family, your lecturers, your community, the country and humanity at large. All of them are looking up to you to shine and do them proud.
The matriculation ceremony is an important occasion not only because it marks the formal admission of students into the University, but also because it enjoins them to the Charter and Statues of the Universality and all other policies and regulations that govern it, through the Matriculation Oath which they solemnly take. The new students, therefore, vow to be part of the SEKU community, with its culture and values.
As you start this journey in your academic life today, you will find tremendous opportunities, experiences and challenges that will define your university experience and set you on the path to personal development. To navigate through these opportunities and challenges, you will be duty- bound to cultivate as senses of responsibility, discipline, commitment and focus, and remain true to these important tenets of good scholarly habits.
As you set your goals to excel, self discipline will be key. We live in a civilized society and civility must reflect in all our actions. You are expected to remain considerate in how you deal with your fellow students, the staff and the community at large. The University eco-system is governed by rules and regulations, with procedures for engaging in various activities. I therefore urge you all to carefully read the regulations, which will be made available to you, and follow the procedures accordingly.
As you will find out, this University has its values and ethos that we hold dear. Integrity is at the heart of these values. We do not only seek to achieve academic excellence, but also the moral uprightness of our students. Such holistic approach to education will set you apart and put you above the rest as you live here and upon leaving this Institution. We have built a reputation of high academic standards and we shall remain steadfast in this.
We abhor all forms of academic malpractice. One of the most serious offences you can commit in this University is to cheat in examinations. If you are caught cheating, you will be expelled. I need to mention to you that every year a number of students are expelled because of this vice. Do not be part of that dubious statistic.
Besides, there are several acts that constitute misconducts on which the University will not make any compromises with offenders. As you settle down, I urge you to study carefully all the rules and regulations. We shall expect you to utilize University facilities at your disposal in a prudent and responsible manner, being mindful of other users as well.
We have strict rules in our hostels to ensure that you stay is comfortable and none of you makes the life other difficult. You are aware that the University has tried its best to accommodate all of you in the hostels; but this does not bar any of you who feel that they would like to stay outside from doing so.
Use the lecturer rooms prudently. Reading or sitting along the corridors of lecture rooms is prohibited. Do not remove chairs from the lecture rooms. Above all keep all the facilities clean. We have put benches under tree shades for students who wish to study outside. The rest of studying must be inside the lecture rooms.
You need to know that from now on there will be no bells ringing to tell you where to go. But this should not deceive you to believe that there will be no demands on you. Instead the demands are now greater as you are called upon to manage you time without any prompting.
How you apportion your time to the many things that will call for your attention will obviously determine your success or failure as far as your academic endeavours are concerned.
SEKU is a vibrant community with a number of curricula and extra curricula activities such as sports, clubs and societies. Focus on how to spend your time constructively without straying into activities that will derail you from your key objective, your academic success. Choose you company wisely. Be clear about what you want to spend your time on and why.
A university setting accords you a lot of freedom. But the most important aspect of this freedom is the freedom to think on your own. In it lies the need to think constructively and logically. It is not freedom to do whatever you want, as anything you do has a consequence. It is freedom to do the right think. I wish to warn you of the several pitfalls that come with this freedom. Be careful not to engage in alcoholism, drug abuse and irresponsible sexual behaviour. Apart from interfering with your academic work, these vices will expose you to the risk of HIV/AIDS and COVID-19.
The University has vibrant drugs and substance abuse and HIV/Aids control units help students on how to deal with these issues. I urge those with problems to seek guidance from these offices. Moreover we have a well functioning counseling service in the Office of the Dean of Students. Do not hesitate to go there for counselling and professional advice whenever you need it.
However, dear students,
While SEKU is steadily rising to claim its position as world class centre of excellence in education, research and innovation, it does not mean that there are no challenges here. You will face challenges in various areas. But we believe in solving our problems through dialogue and consultation. We have a vibrant student representation system though which we deal with all the challenges as one united SEKU Family. We believe in all of us being part of the solution.
As I conclude, I would like to assure you that life in the University can be very exciting both intellectually and socially. All of us are here to offer assistance if required. Do make time to engage with your lecturers and other staff and make the best out of them. Take advantage of every facility available to develop yourselves fully and to prepare for future opportunities and challenges.
Once more, welcome to South Eastern Kenya University, and have rewarding stay here.