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Kenya’s First Virtual University Starts Admitting Students After Charter Award

Open University of Kenya, which will be based at Konza City in Machakos, aims to enhance access to education

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The Open University of Kenya (OUK) is set to officially start operations by September this year at Konza Technopolis as one of its flagship projects. To kick off the project, OUK will today be awarded a university charter at a ceremony presided over by President William Ruto at the Konza Technocity.

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In July, MPs have approved the establishment of the first virtual university in Kenya, promising a low-cost alternative to traditional higher education for Kenyan students. The university, which will ride on the country’s digital infrastructure, is expected to charge between Ksh10,400 and Ksh10,900 per module, depending on the course.

A press statement from the Ministry of Education indicates that the charter award event will be attended by high level education stakeholders in Kenya including Cabinet Secretaries, Principal Secretaries, Governors, and Members of Parliament, among others.

The charter for Open University of Kenya (OUK) opens the window for admission of the first cohort of 7,100 distance e-learners.

Earlier, Information, Communications, and Digital Economy Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo said the virtual university aims to enhance access to affordable university education.

“Once the institution becomes functional, it will make university education more affordable, accessible, and attainable to all students, no matter their location or income levels,” said Owalo.

The CS, who was speaking at a Nairobi hotel Monday when presenting a report on the One-Year Status Report of the Ministry of Information, Communications, and the Digital Economy, said plans were also at an advanced stage to operationalize the Kenya Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (Kenya-AIST) at Konza Technopolis.

He said the institution, which is still under construction and scheduled to open this year, will offer postgraduate programmes in advanced science and technology.

Owalo announced that the Ministry, in collaboration with Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions, plans to equip the training institutes with a total of 23,000 digital devices. Already, 8,159 digital devices have already been supplied to 112 institutions.

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The CS said as of July 31st this year, a total of 77 Technical and Vocational Education and Training institutions were supplied with 6,700 virtual desktops; four universities received 400 units; one community centre and 21 schools received 100 each; and eight ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAs) and one county government got 100 and five virtual desktops, respectively.

He said the Ministry had linked 109,000 youth from the Ajira programme directly to digital jobs, which included business process outsourcing companies based in Ndhiwa, Mbeere, Kirinyaga, Central, Mombasa, and Nairobi.

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“We have equally trained a total of 336,000 youth on digital jobs, under the Ajira Digital Programme and formed and institutionalized 74 Ajira digital clubs, which are sustainable platforms,” he added.

The CS added that the Ministry is driving digital skills and job creation through the Ajira and Jitume programmes with the aim of equipping citizens with technical and vocational digital education and digital skills for digitally enabled jobs. (KNA)

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Bill Yaura is a Correspondent for Business Today. He can be reached on email: [email protected]
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