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Matiang’i urges varsities to invest in learners

02 July 2014, 13:25 Samuel Kisika

Nairobi – The Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) Cabinet Secretary, Fred Matiang’i has called on universities to prioritize their academic researches on developing local content for use by learners.

Matiang’i raised concern from the recent survey in education sector that revealed many students in universities rely most on foreign content in their studies due to insufficient local content.

“Many learners in higher learning institutions depend on foreign content than local content. The survey further reveals that 15 percent local content threshold needs is not attained thus our universities should develop local content through research especially in learning modules,” said Matiang’i.

He assured that the government is committed to promoting ICT for realization of Vision 2030 by increasing broadband footprint across the country.

“Embracing ICT in education mediates the cost and accessibility to digitized learning. Our universities train people not just for local jobs but for global competition and we should embrace technology in learning,” stated Matiang’i.

The ICT Cabinet Secretary was speaking during the launch of Kenyatta University’s (KU) Digital School programme set to address the increased demand for improved higher education e-learning programmes in the country.

Matiang’i asserted that there has been a significant investment in ICT in education sector which has resulted in technologically-enhanced teaching and learning approaches.

“KU Digital School will not only allow for a seamless integrated approach to accessing and sharing information but also empower students as they will be able to access quality education anywhere and anytime,” added Dr. Matiang’i.

The KU’s Vice Chancellor, Olive Mugenda said that the varsity’s unveiled digital school of virtual and open learning programme is effective especially for the younger generation who has embraced access to online services.

“Our e-Learning programs have the potential to deliver improved services and tools coupled with quality professional support. Our costs are affordable, teachers and students can interact through offline and online forums, thus catering for students’ learning needs,” said Mugenda.

Mugenda said all newly enrolled students to Digital School will be provided with a free tablet uploaded with registered units and added that the programmes will run on a trimester cycle where learners enrolled for the undergraduate programmes will complete their studies within 3 years.

She reiterated that the programmes will also combine digital instruction, with live tutorials in the Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru, Garissa, Kisumu, Kakamega, Embu, Nyeri and Marsabit regional centres.

“The use of smartphone tablets means that students can learn anytime anywhere without real-time internet access, proactively interact through offline and online forums and messages, as well as self-evaluate and compare themselves with their peers,” said Mugenda.

The Vice Chanceller further said Digital School will engage learners in programmes they have control over the pace and direction of their learning.

“The paradigm shift brought about by KU Digital School will mean the teacher is no longer the ‘deliverer’ of knowledge, as the new e-Learning environment will focus on the learner as the information seeker,” said Mugenda.

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