The Presbyterian University of East Africa (PUEA) is a private university founded in 2007 by the Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA) that offers educational programs founded on the values of Christian transformational education, research, professional integrity, self-reliance, and service to God and humanity. The University is registered with the Commission for University Education (CUE).
PUEA University is located in a serene and conducive learning environment in Thogoto, Kikuyu – the cradle of education in Kenya.
PUEA University’s mission is to provide transformative holistic education. Degree programs include business, computer science, theology, and education. The postgraduate studies are in business administration with a specialization in different areas such as finance, human resource, strategic management, and marketing. Diplomas are offered in nursing, clinical medicine, journalism, public relations, education, business, hospitality management, tourism management, theology, business administration, and business information technology.
The University has adequate physical facilities and equipment that support the academic programs offered. They include the Administration Block; the Edward Danks Library; the Albright Ladies’ hostels; the students’ center; the guest houses; the staff houses; the new buildings which house classrooms, lecture halls, laboratories, and offices for the schools of business and education, and the first aid room with the support of Korea Presbyterian Church the University has new lecture rooms to accommodate about 250 students in six lecture halls.
The Presbyterian University does not only provide opportunities for students to acquire head knowledge rather, but its main vision is also to ensure that every year it churns out graduates that are well-rounded. The University’s teaching and curriculum are set in a way that challenges students to use their curiosity and creativity to tackle issues by investigating or designing solutions to problems in the workplace.
The University will continue to build on the four pillars of the Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA) namely:
Pillar 1: Evangelism through its Churches,
Pillar 2: Education for all through its schools, colleges and the University i.e. PUEA,
Pillar 3: Health for all through its hospitals and health centers, and
Pillar 4: Community service through its community centers
Under the Education Pillar, the church established the University under the General Assembly Resolution number 2093of April, 1988. Since its inception, the University has hired qualified academic staff to teach and carry out research over the years.
The Presbyterian University of East Africa (PUEA) offers educational programs founded on the values of Christian transformational education, research, professional integrity, self-reliance, and service to God and humanity. The University is a faith-based institution, serving all with equity and dignity, regardless of ethnicity, creed or culture while safeguarding human and gender rights. The University aspires to anchor its motto, "Finding New Paths" (Jeremiah 6:16), in its values of academic excellence. The University embraces responsible freedom of thought, selfless service, value addition to life, respect for self and others, accountability, self-reliance, discipline, truth, integrity, honesty, justice, tolerance, transparency, and fair play.
The Presbyterian University cuts a niche for itself among institutions offering entrepreneurial skills to its students. In fact, PUEA wants to be identified as an institution that produces job creators not job seekers and we are working towards imparting the same to the Presbyterian University students. For instance, the university runs a dairy project within the campus. Here students can learn practically how to run a profitable business venture. The secret is doing things differently. It is about taking proactive steps to foster a culture of learning, an ethos of innovation, and making good practice the norm.
So, what does Presbyterian University offer academically? The Presbyterian University offers educational programs founded on the values of Christian transformational education, research, professional integrity, self-reliance, and service to God and humanity.
PUEA Vision: To produce holistically trained graduates for service to God and humanity and stay at the frontier of knowledge
PUEA Mission: A world-class Presbyterian University of choice providing holistic and transformational education based on Christian values
PUEA Motto: Finding New Paths
PUEA Core Values
The Presbyterian University has a rich history dating back to the days when the first Church of Scotland missionaries landed in Kenya. In 2007 the University was given a Letter of Interim Authority to start a University by the Commission for higher education. The University admitted its first-degree students in 2008. PUEA was awarded a Charter on Wednesday 2nd December 2020 by His Excellency, Hon. Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya. The Charter has renewed PUEA’s determination to become a global center of Knowledge, Science, Innovation, and Research.
The genesis of education as an integral component of the activities of the Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA) dates back to the arrival of the first Church of Scotland Missionaries in Kenya. The missionaries realized that there was a need to create a literate African Christian community who could read the Bible, teach other members of the community and act as interpreters for the missionaries in their endeavors to preach the Gospel. Formal schools were established as part of the activities of the mission work, initially at Kibwezi in 1891, and later at Thogoto Mission Centre in September 1898.
From these early beginnings, there was rapid acceptance of education by the local communities. This necessitated the establishment of more schools by the church jointly with the respectively local communities, particularly in the central region of Kenya. Between 1914 and 1920, the number of pupils enrolled in the church-supported primary schools rose from 709 to 2983, approximately a three-fold growth in a six-year period. This growth encouraged the Scottish Missionaries to reach out to more communities in Tumutumu in Nyeri, Chogoria in Meru as well as around Nairobi and its environs.
During this time, the African pupils were given only four years of primary education, mainly for the purpose of being able to read and write. The Church of Scotland Mission, jointly with the Methodist Church of Kenya (MCK) and the Gospel Mission Society (GMS), recognized that the search for knowledge could not be limited to the basic level of being able to read and write. This recognition led to the formation of an alliance of protestant church missions for the purposes of the establishment of Alliance High School in 1926. The Church of Scotland Mission provided the land on which Alliance High School was established. In 1948, the church played yet another crucial role in the establishment of the African Girls High Schools, which later became Alliance Girls High School in 1963. These institutions were established in Kikuyu with the mutual support of the local community led by their Christian adherents. This initiative formed a basis for developing an African elite of educators, managers, business entrepreneurs, and political leaders.
The Church of Scotland Mission and later, its successor, the Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA), together with the local communities continued to develop more primary and secondary schools in most parts of the then Central, Eastern, and some parts of the Rift Valley Provinces.
Apart from its involvement in education, the Presbyterian Church of East Africa has continued to develop health facilities alongside the other missionary activities. In 1908, the first permanent hospital in the Central Region of Kenya was established at Thogoto Mission Centre and named the Hunter Memorial Hospital (later renamed Kikuyu Mission Hospital and presently PCEA Kikuyu Hospital. The missionaries started a second hospital at Tumu Tumu in l9l0 in Nyeri District (now Nyeri County), followed later by yet a third hospital at Chogoria in 1922 in the then Meru District (Tharaka-Nithi County). These hospitals have expanded their facilities and services over the years to include the training of enrolled nurses. The quality of health care provided in these hospitals is comparable to that provided by other private hospitals in the country, but at a comparatively lower cost for services.
The significance of Thogoto Mission Centre in the history of education in Kenya under the auspices of the Presbyterian Church of East Africa and its predecessor, the Church of Scotland Mission (CSM), was aptly captured by one of its beneficiaries, the first President of the Republic of Kenya, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta who said that "Thogoto became a centre not only for religion, but also for education." (in a speech delivered on the occasion of the Inauguration of the Seventieth Anniversary Celebrations of the Presbyter ian Church of East Africa at Thogoto, Kikuyu: Minutes of PCEA General Administration Committee, 1968:67.)
It is this contribution of the early missionaries to the history of education in Kenya that the Presbyterian Church of East Africa used to establish a university whose foundations are embedded in the bedrock of Christian faith and values across the East African region.
The need for a Church Sponsored University
The need to establish a university under the sponsorship of the Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA) was proposed, discussed and accepted by the 12th PCEA General Assembly in April 1988 under resolution 2093. Arising from this resolution, a steering committee was set up and charged with the responsibility of developing a proposal for the establishment of the university. The membership of the Steering Committee was expanded later to include professionals with relevant experience in the development and management of universities as modern and highest centers for learning and social change.
The church, through the Presbyterian Foundation, set aside 100 acres of land at Thogoto Mission Centre for the development of a university. Further, a building committee was established to coordinate the development of the physical facilities. This committee raised funds from the PCEA congregations region wide and from other well-wishers. The committee undertook the construction of the first administration and teaching block of the University; hence, a theological college was established here in the late 1890’s which was known as “The Presbyterian College”.This was a precursor to the Presbyterian University of East Africa (PUEA) established in 2007 to provide holistic and transformational university education based on Christian values.Thus, given the commendable efforts of the church in education during the early part of the last century and the demand for high quality tertiary education, the Presbyterian Church of East Africa joined in the challenging efforts of advancing the frontiers of knowledge through education in Kenya by establishing a full-fledged university named the “The Presbyterian University of East Africa” located within the Thogoto Mission Centre, Kikuyu, approximately 20 km from the City of Nairobi on Kikuyu-Thogoto Road. Today, the University can be accessed through the Southern bypass that runs from Kikuyu to the City of Nairobi with easy access to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).
The University has adequate physical facilities and equipment that support the academic programmes offered. They include the Administration Block; the Edward Danks Library; the Albright Ladies’ hostels; the students’ center; the guest houses; the staff houses; the new buildings which house classrooms, lecture halls, laboratories, and offices for the schools of business and education, and the first aid room with the support of Korea Presbyterian Church the University has new lecture rooms to accommodate about 250 students in six lecture halls.
To date, the University has developed innovative and practical academic programmes across a wide range of disciplines. It has established a vibrant learning culture and attracted a large number of students at both undergraduate and graduate levels. The University maintains an ecumenical Christian aura where the application of knowledge and skills is guided by Christian values.
Over time the University has grown by leaps and bounds. In September 2016, the University became one of the recipients of Government Sponsored Students and has a current population of over 2800 students including privately sponsored ones and a growing foreign students community.