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Message from the Coordinator, Centre for Languages and Cultural Studies

Welcome to the Centre for Languages and Cultural Studies, CLACS, Kibabii University. This is a new Centre established by the University in recognition of the role that language and culture play in the development agenda. Besides being a general communication tool, and serving as an identity marker for different communities, language is a critical medium of education. It is at the center of development communication, which underscores the need to carefully choose the vehicle used in communicating the development agenda, involving the people in setting it, planning for it, and finally implementing it. In this highly globalized world today, the need for knowledge of many languages has gained currency since there is more travel around the globe for commerce, education, work, and leisure. Moreover, multilingualism has steadily become the norm. Besides, due to its relatedness with culture, the study of language exposes one to its speakers’ culture in a manner that makes them better known; allowing for the acceptance of diversity and recognition of the differences that exist between cultures. Culture is thus very important in its own right as it both defines and gives us an identity. A deep understanding of culture, therefore, makes it possible for people to appreciate society’s values and apply them effectively for the development of mankind.

Knowledge and application of matters of language and culture through rigorous study and research is, therefore, necessary so that society can apply them to their full potential in the realization of the desired development goals. The purpose of the establishment of this Centre is to have a hub for language and cultural innovation and collaboration for the Western Kenya region and beyond. We envisage a Centre that is distinguished through supporting and empowering language and cultural research for learners, teachers, and faculty through the provision of adequate and responsive facilities as well as physical and virtual spaces for carrying out research. By doing this, the Centre seeks to augment related academic departments in their core business of teaching, research, and extension. In so doing, the Centre will give both Languages and Cultures more attention in matters of research, hitherto not given.

The Centre for Languages and Cultural Studies will play an important role in the creation of an enabling environment for deep academic exchange around language and cultural research. Besides, it will serve as a link between Kibabii University, the community, and other stakeholders in language and cultural studies, research and practice both locally, regionally, and globally. Envisaged collaborations and partnerships expected from the Centre’s operations will enhance community engagement and spur faster growth of the institution as a global University. The Centre will assist in the preservation and promotion of African and foreign languages, and cultures by use of modern technology. In this regard, the Centre will help the University achieve excellence in the generation, transmission, and enhancement of new knowledge in African and foreign languages and cultures; and innovation as envisaged in the University mission statement through quality research, consultancy, and outreach programs. Through offering relevant short courses in various languages to technocrats in fields such as engineering, media, health, and agriculture and provision of translation services, Kibabii University through the Centre will play a big role in the achievement of the agenda of the Government of Kenya. These courses in various local languages aim at enabling technocrats to carry out their work at grassroots levels more effectively using languages that can be understood by locals.

Finally, it is imperative to note that the Kenyan Constitution (2010) guarantees the enjoyment of culture and indigenous languages under the bill of rights. Moreover, language is a primary means of social mobility and economic development as highlighted in the Vision 2030 blueprint and UNESCO. CLACS will therefore provide an avenue for the masses to enjoy their cultures. Furthermore, the Centre seeks to enable Kibabii University to play its role in the implementation of Kenya’s Competence Based Curriculum (CBC) as the required information on Kiswahili, vernacular languages, braille, and sign language will be availed at the Centre. In so doing, the Centre will assist in addressing some of the challenges that may likely be faced in the teaching of vernacular, braille, and sign languages in the CBC.

 You are most welcome, and, lets enjoy our languages and cultures.