The Institute for Development Studies (IDS), University of Nairobi, hosted a virtual orientation ceremony for students admitted for Master of Development Studies (MDEV ) in the 2020/2021 academic year.
The event, held on Thursday 24th September 2020, was the first to he hosted virtually following the COVID -19 pandemic, which led to closure of learning institution’s in the country last March. IDS Director Prof Karuti Kanyinga welcomed the new students to IDS, noting that they had secured a place in the premier institute for development studies in the region and globally.
“ We pride ourselves in providing practical research skills to students apart from theoretical grounding. We are one of the very few institutes FOR Development Studies. There is remarkable difference between institutes OF Development Studies and Institute FOR Development Studies,” said Prof Kanyinga.
The Director urged the students to regularly attend the IDS seminars and workshops, noting that the popular academic forums often bring together prominent researchers from across the globe and students are set to tap vast knowledge on development from them.
Prof Kanyinga also announced plans for establishment of the journal reading house to enable students acclimatize to the academic vigor and establish the link between journals and dissertations. He said the British Institute in Africa is set to be involved in this initiative.
The Director urged the students to take advantage of IDS’s unique nature as they aspire for greater academic heights. “ We are an Institute that believes in collegiality and mentorship of students. Feel free to consult researchers and even other students for advice. The sky is the limit in terms of what you can achieve in Development Studies,” he said.
While addressing the new students earlier on, the Institute’s Associate Director, Dr Paul Kamau, congratulated them for making the cut out of hundreds of other applicants for the MDEV course. The Associate Director gave an overview of the evolution of IDS since its inception in 1965 , the launch of MA programme in 2000 and the eventual introduction of MDEV to respond to the emerging trends in Development Studies.
IDS long-serving Researcher Prof Patrick Alila advised the students to embrace the new technology following the advent of COVID-19. He acknowledged the technology’s teething problems but was emphatic that they could be overcome.
“ Remember the key to success is hard work and happiness. If you are happy with what you are doing you will go places,” said Prof Alila.
Dr Joseph Onjala explained to the students the MDEV regulations. He urged the students to focus closely on the stipulated requirements and aspire to finish the course within its duration. Other IDS staffers who addressed the students were Dr George Michuki (Research Fellow), Mr John Njoka (Research Fellow), Mr Herbert Wamalwa (Junior Research Fellow), Mr Otuma Ongalo (Publications Editor) and MS Eunice Ogenchi (Assistant Registrar).