More Education Solutions for Online Learning in Kenya

There is a growing demand for tertiary education in Kenya, and to meet the demand, Kenyan universities are opening satellite campuses across the country, with a focus on online education, or elearning.

Njambi Muchane is the Director of Kenya School of Government elearning and Development Institute, and she says that instead of investing more in traditional learning methods, facilities and education providers should be focusing on what can be achieved online.

“Opening several colleges increases the overheads of a university. Local universities should understand that they can use the same professors and lecturers to train many participants in different locations,” she says.

There have been some setbacks with online learning in Kenya. Access has been one, infrastructure and lack of government policy have also been factors.

“Owing to lack of an elearning policy, any course seems to be acceptable even when consumers don’t know how good the courses are. We need to have standards which should be adhered to by elearning programs,” asserts Muchane.

Muchane thinks that in order to be effective, online courses need to be constantly reviewed to make sure they meet current standards. As well as this, Muchane believes that online courses can direct the student to be more autonomous, “The content should be developed in such a way that it motivates the learner either through self instruction or through online tutor assistance.”

The Kenyan government is getting on board. Apart from recently establishing the Kenya School of Government, e-learning and Development Institute of which Muchane is Director, the government has also invested in the laying of fibre optic cables to make for better connectivity. This has improved access, as well as more people being connected to the net via 3G enabled phones.

It’s not just adult learners who are learning online; Samsung recently launched a pilot training program targeted at generating digital skills in classroom settings for Kenya’s primary school pupils. The program is now helping kids aged between four and seven years old to learn.

Samsung Electronics general manager, Robert Ngeru, was confident that online education could be a very positive thing for Kenya. “By adopting the digital classroom management system, the quality of education will be enhanced as the system provides an interactive learning environment between the pupils and teachers.”

Lack of computer skills has been one hurdle that the Institute has had to deal with. “There is need to first train people on applications so that they can appreciate what they can do and subsequently become interested in elearning,” believes Muchane.



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