Friday, February 22nd, 2013
It is a widely shared view in Kenya, that higher education will be a determinant factor for the country’s future. Kenya’s first university, the University of Nairobi, was established in
1970. Fifty years after Independence there are twenty public universities, as well as forty technical and vocational institutions, with 251,000 students.
The challenges facing Kenyan tertiary education include an unprecedented demand for places, finding investments in staffing and infrastructure, developoing new curricula and balance the need for ‘bricks and mortar’ whilst coping with competition from global online teaching.
Efforts are underway at a national and regional level (in particular within the East African Community) to harmonize standards, including introducing credit transfer and accreditation systems, in order to boost mobility, and supporting regional centres of excellence.
These trends suggest new possibilities for overseas universities to move beyond the ‘traditional’ approach of recruiting from a narrow band of students. Creating local partnerships between national and overseas universities, establishing branch campuses to assist Kenyan and regional students to take foundation and other courses, including re-skilling academic and administrative staff, and providing online courses in
conjunction with tutoring and vocational training are new options which complement direct recruitment.
Ms. Rose Muya (seen here counselling students at an educaiton fair) is Manager of the Canadian University Application Centre (CUAC) in Nairobi. Her personal blog is found at http://rosetimeless.wordpress.com/