Race against time as universities in Kenya go online

Online education in Kenya

COVID-19 has awakened sleeping giants. Universities in Kenya are now turning to online education as an alternative method of learning.

In this post, you will see how universities in Kenya are slowly embracing the new approach to education and learning. Here we go!

Kenyatta University and Mount Kenya University started off tremendously with full-time online education, following the footsteps of other western Universities.

When Kenyatta University opened its first digital school in 2014, I was elated. I got the chance to do my second degree online, giving me the chance to work and learn at the same time. One of the greatest things that ever happened to me was getting that chance to pursue my dream career without having to stop the other things that I was doing at the time.

One of my classmates was a student from Kampala, Uganda. We used to meet for sitting exams and CATs, which were often scheduled during weekends and holidays. Aside from that, we only attended tutorial classes twice in a semester, which were not compulsory. When I asked my Ugandan comrade why he chose to study at KU, he said that there were only two universities that offered online classes in East Africa. He had to choose between Mount Kenya and Kenyatta University, and he settled for the latter.

Today, other universities have awoken from their deep slumber. While some universities such as UON, Egerton and Jomo Kenyatta University were initially offering Online and Distance Learning (ODL), most of their classes were conducted during holidays, and learning rarely took place online. However, COVID-19 has revealed a new virtual reality, from which no institution of higher learning can escape. This is why CS Magoha said last month that students should use HELB loans to purchase laptops for online learning.

Even the regular mode of learning at Kenyatta University is now turning to a flipped learning method, where students will be required to study both online and inside the classroom. In fact, the institution has made laptops or tablets compulsory to enable all learners to access online learning materials. The digital tools are also used to access and submit assignments, as well as to hold forums and chats with the tutor and other classmates.

Moreover, almost all public and private universities nowadays allow students to register online. This process starts with downloading KUCCPS admission letters online. Once the student gets their admission letter, they log in to the university’s student portal and enter their personal information including ID number and passport photo.

Most students who do not have access to computers and internet opt for cyber services, where they are charged ludicrous service fees.

It now seems that there is no more stagnation with brick and mortar. We have to move with the evolution of time. New technology is here. If you can’t change the direction of the waves, adjust your sails.

It is absolutely necessary for every parent to give their children access to laptops and computers. Purchasing laptops might be expensive to most parents, but it is a cost we have to pay. Owning a personal computer is no longer a posh, but an inevitable step in the quest for knowledge.

A few years ago, most universities, including Kenyatta University and the University of Nairobi, required students to register their units online. Nevertheless, the entire registration process is now done online. When I first joined university in 2008, we made a very long queue in the famous 8-4-4 block at Kenyatta University, just to have our papers checked manually. I almost suffocated in the middle of large crowds as students rushed to beat the twilight.

Later, students were required to line up at the Computer Complex building for their data to be capture biometrically. Things are now getting even more digital as most schools are turning to online registration, which is somewhat a self-service process.

In Moi University, for example, the Vice Chancellor has announced that there will be no physical registration this year at the Main Campus as it used to be in the past. The institution has established three registration processes, which are all supposed to be conducted online as follows:

  • Online registration from Monday, 31st August to 11th September, 2020.
  • Virtual orientation from Monday, 14th to 18th September, 2020.
  • Online learning begins on Monday, 21st September, 2020.

Clearly, the institution does not need to wait until January to start learning, and new students do not have to lose their first academic semester.

Here is how to register as a new student at Moi University

There are so many challenges associated with this novelty, including lack of access to equipment and resources. Nevertheless, there is no short cut now. You either shape in, or shape out.

Enough said!

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Fredrick Chepkonga

Mr. Fredrick Chepkonga is an educator and writer in Kenya with great experience in writing and research on education, economics, and finance topics. He has passion in mentoring young people to develop responsible citizens and future leaders.

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