Mount Kenya university (MKU) chairman Simon Gicharu has launched the construction of a sh.600 million Institute of Petroleum and Geothermal studies in Lodwar.
Speaking during the launch of the project, Gicharu said the two-phase project will cost sh.400 million while sh.200 million will be spent on equipping the institute.
He said upon completion the institute will offer degrees in petroleum and geothermal studies to address the needs of the region.
“The institute will help equip locals and people from the region in oil studies,” he said. He affirmed the University’s commitment to take education to the people adding that the institute’s curriculum will be tailored to address their needs.
The oil find in Turkana County has aroused investors’ interest in the county that has in the past
been associated with hunger and cattle rustling.
The institute will help empower the locals to take up professional jobs created since the discovery of oil in the county.
Locals have in the past claimed that they have been discriminated against in job opportunities. However, oil exploring companies maintain that no qualified person has been unfairly denied employment opportunity.
At the same time, Gicharu who is also the chairman of Geothermal Development Corporation called on the Turkana and West Pokot county leaders to educate their people on national resources to prevent conflicts over resource sharing.
He said there is no need for conflict over resources and said educating the locals is one way of resolving the resource-related disputes.
He underscored the need for education in promoting development and called on the youth to embrace education.
“The young people should embrace education in order to compete nationally,” said Gicharu. He was accompanied by Geothermal Development Company managing director Dr. Silas Simiyu, Prof. Lokapel Elim and Lodwar campus Mount Kenya University director, Felix Sialo.
Mount Kenya University made history by being the first university to set up a campus in Turkana County. The enrolment currently stands at over 1,500 students.
Sialo said the university has helped reduce transportation and accommodation costs incurred by students who were forced to travel outside the county in search of higher education.
“Civil servants and other employees working in Turkana County now have an opportunity to advance their education something which was not possible before MKU came to Lodwar,” said Sialo.