Mount Kenya University (MKU) is upgrading its Information Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure to admit more than 100,000 online students.
This is due to the increase in demand and online learners have increased from 5,292 in 2018 to 15,874 in 2021.
Speaking during the ongoing Kenya Secondary Schools Heads Association (Kesha) annual conference for principals in Mombasa, the University’s Principal for the Directorate of Open Distance and Electronic Learning (ODEL) Dr Merceline Kamande said it is projected that the numbers will continue to rise with more people open to alternate approaches in education as opposed to a few years ago.
“The university embraced e-learning in 2010 when the online learning platform was first developed to host only two programmes.
The current student population accessing education through the Open Distance Electronic Learning (ODEL) are in excess of 15,000 in 65-degree programmes,” Kamande said.
“The students have a choice of study between the blended mode of study and a virtual model of study based on their locality and convenience,” she added.
According to Kamande, the coronavirus pandemic had a huge impact on the education sector just like in all other sectors worldwide.
However, when face-to-face teaching and learning were suspended by the government in line with WHO’s recommendations, MKU was among the few universities in the country that remained afloat by integrating their students into the online platform.
“In this way, the university continued to offer uninterrupted teaching and learning services online.
This ensured that students who were due for graduation were able to do so without delays,” she said.
Kamande is pleading with the Kenya government to institute policies to actualise the one laptop per learner programme, adding that a corresponding intervention to reduce internet costs would also play a major role to enhance online learning.
Kamande says a student who successfully meets the requirements of a degree while studying online signals a very competent and skilled worker who has the potential to perform well in the job market.
The students are distributed throughout all MKU campuses as well as the Diaspora centres in Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and Hargesia (Somaliland).
Additionally, the ODEL directorate serves students in other parts of the world including South Sudan, Tanzania, Qatar, Canada and the USA, among others.
The Mount Kenya University ODEL directorate is the technology hub responsible for providing open distance and E-Learning university education.
It coordinates virtual classes for both on-campus and off campus students and connects the university and its campuses hence helping the university in achieving its vision and mission.