The Technical University of Kenya shares history with the development of the first three higher education institutions in East Africa. In the 1920s there were heightened agitations for the expansion of access to higher education by indigenous leaders in the East African Territories. Concerted efforts in the form of committees, commissions and conferences resulted in positive developments that included the elevation of Makerere Institute of to Makerere University College of the University of London in 1949, proposal to establish the Royal Technical College of East Africa (RTCEA) in Nairobi was approved and construction started on 25th January 1952 and establishment of Dar es Salaam University College in 1961.
The Technical University of Kenya (TU-K) was established through the elevation of The Kenya Polytechnic University College (KPUC) to full university status. TU-K was established as the first Technical University in Kenya line with the provisions of the proposed Universities Act, 2012. The technical university is a new type of university in Kenya, whose mandate shall be to offer higher education and research in technology. The technical university, as a concept, is being created in Kenya with the objective to be a technological force behind the Vision-2030 drive and the general economic development of the nation. This has come about from the realisation that most countries that have been able to make major technological breakthroughs were heavily propelled through this by their technological universities.