Empowering Futures: MUST Partners with TCVC to Launch Luban Workshop Sub-Centre
It was all Pomp and Colour as Meru University of Science and Technology (MUST) celebrated the Launch of the Kenyan Luban Workshop Sub-Centre on Monday, 4th September, 2023 at the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centre. MUST has collaborated with Tianjin City Vocational College (TCVC) from the People’s Republic of China to open a Luban Workshop Sub-Centre at MUST. This initiative has been founded on the shared vision of enhancing technical and vocational education and training in Kenya, a vision that aligns seamlessly with MUST’s commitment to fostering international academic partnerships.
Our Vice Chancellor, Prof. Romanus Odhiambo, underscored the significance of this collaboration, emphasizing that it stands as a testament to the joint commitment of MUST and TCVC to elevate technical and vocational education in Kenya. He emphasized that this partnership is more than just a symbolic gesture; it is a concrete step towards progress and action.
“The name “Luban” Workshop is steeped in history, as it pays homage to Lu Ban, a renowned ancient Chinese carpenter and engineer. Just as Luban was celebrated for his mastery of practical skills, innovation, and engineering prowess, so too does our Luban Workshop focus on instilling these qualities in our students and professionals. It is a place where theoretical knowledge meets hands-on training, where classroom lectures merge seamlessly with laboratory exercises and practical projects. It is a place where we bridge the gap between academia and industry, creating graduates who are not only knowledgeable but also highly skilled and ready to contribute to the challenges and opportunities of our time. Allow me to share another remarkable aspect of the Luban Workshop that makes it even more extraordinary. The Luban Workshop finds its home within the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centre, a magnificent facility that was generously gifted to Meru University of Science and Technology by our founding Chancellor, Dr. James Mwangi. This state-of-the-art center not only embodies Dr. Mwangi’s unwavering commitment to education and innovation but also serves as an effective hub for great minds to collaborate and nurture ideas aimed at making our world a better place. It is a testament to the power of philanthropy, vision, and dedication to higher education, where innovation thrives, and entrepreneurship flourishes. It is within this dynamic environment that the Luban Workshop will continue to flourish, fostering creativity, innovation, and the spirit of entrepreneurship among our students and professionals.”, Prof. Romanus Odhiambo, Vice-Chancellor, MUST.
The event was also graced by the Secretary, Administration in the State Department for Higher Education and Research at the Ministry of Education of Kenya, Mr. Fredrick Ndambuki who was representing the Principal Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Beatrice Muganda Inyangala. Mr. Ndambuki said that the Luban Workshop is more than just a physical structure; it is an embodiment of Kenya’s commitment to advancing education, technology, and innovation. He added that it is the fruit of collaborative efforts between Meru University of Science and Technology and Tianjin City Vocational College, representing a harmonious fusion of international expertise and local talent.
The event also witnessed the presence of His Excellency Mr. Zhang Yijun, Counsellor of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Kenya, who highlighted that this initiative will significantly enhance friendship and cooperation between Kenya and China.
The Luban Workshop will house the Vocational Education Lecture Hall, Silk Road E-commerce, and Information and Communication Technology education programs. These specialized courses aim to equip students and professionals with hands-on skills and knowledge that align with the demands of modern technology.
Prof. Odhiambo emphasized that the Luban Workshop will be a melting pot where theoretical knowledge converges with practical training, bridging the gap between academia and industry. This dynamic learning environment will produce graduates who are not only knowledgeable but also highly skilled and ready to contribute to contemporary challenges and opportunities.
Furthermore, Prof. Odhiambo envisioned a brighter future for vocational education in Kenya. He said that the goal is to produce graduates who will not only excel in their respective fields but also become integral players in the economic development of Kenya and globally.
TCVC’s Deputy Vice Chancellor, Mr. Liu Sheng, expressed confidence that the programs offered at the Luban Workshop will equip students with the skills and knowledge required for the dynamic job market. He lauded the workshop as a bridge between Kenya and China, fostering invaluable knowledge exchange and cultural understanding.
In a heartfelt speech delivered by the Academic Chairperson of the MUST Council, Mr. Martin Kinoti, on behalf of the Chairperson of the MUST Council, Dr. Jane Wangui Kiringai, the Chairperson celebrated the Launch of the Luban Workshop as a testament to the power of collaboration and partnership. She expressed profound gratitude to Tianjin City Vocational College for their expertise and support, highlighting the workshop as a platform for a deep exchange of ideas and cultures. Dr. Kiringai also extended appreciation to His Excellency Mr. Zhang Yijun, Counsellor of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Kenya, for his unwavering support in educational cooperation. She also commended the faculty and staff at MUST for their dedication to nurturing student growth and acknowledged the crucial role played by the Ministry of Education in Kenya. The heart and soul of this initiative, the Chairperson emphasized, are the students and participants of the Luban Workshop, recognizing their enthusiasm and dedication to acquiring practical skills as truly inspiring.
Other distinguished guests included Ms. Liu Xiaoxia, Deputy Director of Hebei District Government; Mr. Lv Jiahua, Deputy Director of Hebei District Education Bureau of Tianjin, China; Mr. Adam Lane, Deputy Manager of Public Relations of Huawei Technologies Company Limited, Kenya, Ms. Geng Jie, Researcher of Tianjin Academy of Educational Science, Prof. Joyce Agalo, Vice-Chancellor of Machakos University and Prof. Peter Mwita, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Research, Innovation and Linkages at Machakos University. Our Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic and Student Affairs, Prof. Simon Thuranira and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Administration, Finance and Planning, Prof. Charity Gichuki, expressed immense joy and enthusiasm about the establishment of the Luban Workshop. Deans of the eight (8) Schools, Directors and students also attended the colourful ceremony. Additionally, it was encouraging to know that faculty and students from Tianjin City Vocational College were actively following the event online, demonstrating the global reach and significance of this collaborative effort between the two institutions.
The inauguration of the Luban Workshop Sub-Centre is a testament to the power of international collaboration in advancing education and skills development, and it marks a significant milestone in the journey towards producing highly skilled professionals in Kenya. With the Luban Workshop, Meru University of Science and Technology has taken a giant step towards fostering a new generation of professionals who will shape the future nationally and globally.