Last modified on 1 October 2016, at 14:05

Kenya

by James Kay, Sero

Overview

Kenya, in full the Republic of Kenya, is a country in East Africa. It is bordered by Ethiopia to the north, Somalia to the northeast, Tanzania to the south, Uganda to the west, and Sudan to the northwest, with the Indian Ocean running along the southeast border. The country is named after Mount Kenya, a very significant landmark and the second among the highest mountain peaks of Africa. The capital city is Nairobi. Kenya's official language is English while the national language is Swahili. Kenya is a presidential representative democratic republic, whereby the President is both the head of state, of government and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the National Assembly. Kenya has an estimated population of 34,000,000 people with approximately 6,000,000 people living in the urban areas. It has a diverse population comprising of 42 ethnic groups. Kenya is 582,646 sq km2 and it is the world's 47th largest country.

Further information

For further general information see Wikipedia:Kenya.

Education in Kenya

For a general description of education in Kenya see Education:Kenya.


e-learning

For a description more focussed to e-learning see E-learning:Kenya.


Quality procedures

Internet in Kenya

Recent survey on Kenya connectivity levels showed that 2.5 million people had access to the internet, less than 8% of the population. With the completion of two twin projects, the cost of accessing Internet will drastically reduce by 70%, hopefully giving more Kenyans access. These twin projects are:

- The East African Marine System (TEAMS). This will connect the Kenyan coastal city of Mombasa to Fujairah port in the United Arab Emirates and will provide broadband connectivity.
- Fibre Optic National Network (FONN) will ensure maximum utilization of capacity and add connectivity in all districts within the country. (1)

The main users of the Internet in Kenya are multinational corporations, international organisations and NGOs. A government policy to lift duties on imported computers and related equipment has resulted in an increase in the number of Internet cafes in rural areas: about 2 per cent of Kenyans in rural areas have access to the Internet and they use it to get information on current affairs, to communicate and for commercial and agricultural purposes. However, there are still significant barriers:

- cost: given that 50 per cent of Kenya’s population live below the poverty line, the cost of Internet access is relatively high due to the local telephone call rates in areas outside the major cities.
- lack of electricity or shortages in supply: most Internet cafes use generators or solar power.
- language: The use of ICT in urban areas may have been influenced positively by the wide use of English, one of Kenya’s official languages, in which most IT services are conducted. However, there are at least 40 indigenous languages in the country, and sometimes this has been seen as a barrier to the spread of ICT. If rural communities are to reap the benefits of the Internet, then the service must be presented in their own languages.
- low literacy levels
- poor telephone infrastructure, travelling distance to reach Internet cafe (1)

Internet in Education

In Kenya, ICT integration in education is more recent, of a smaller scale and experimental in nature. However, the use of computers in education has progressed slowly from the acquisition of basic computer skills to computer-aided teaching, communications and research. (1)

Pilot project - handhelds

In the Mbita Point primary school, a pilot project is being run by EduVision, which is looking at ways to use low cost computer systems to get up-to-date information to students who are currently stuck with ancient textbooks. The students can do exercises in their school textbooks which have been digitised. The non-governmental organisation uses a combination of satellite radio and handheld computers called E-slates. They connect via a wireless connection to a base station in the school. The system is cheaper than installing and maintaining an internet connection and conventional computer network. (1)

Limited access to internet and electric power

A recent email notes:

  • In Kenya, only 65% of the secondary schools are connected to the power grid (Ngare, 2007), and only 3% of the 6,566 secondary schools have Internet connectivity (Kiptalam & Rodrigues, 2010).
  • However, all higher-education institutions in Kenya have electrical power and Internet connectivity.
  • This level of access to electricity and the Internet can be seen throughout most of sub-Saharan Africa.

Copyright law in Kenya

Copyright law in Education

OER Initiatives in Kenya

The African Virtual University (AVU) is located in Kenya. The AVU is an independent, intergovernmental organisation that was started in 1997 and has its headquarters in Nairobi. Its main objective is to promote and support initiatives in open, distance and electronic learning (ODEL) in Africa. The AVU is a network of African tertiary education and training institutions that are involved in the use of various ODEL methodologies to increase access to their own demand-driven programmes in an affordable, cost-effective, flexible and sustainable manner. The AVU has made this possible by developing a learning platform that allows institutions from different countries with different levels of technological and educational development to network through the use of ODEL. In such a networked environment, e-learning should thrive because it allows for the rapid updating and sharing of information, and instruction. This environment promotes group interaction, institutional collaboration and self-learning. Its partner institutions for HE in Kenya are: University of Nairobi, Egerton University, Moi University, Maseno University, Kenyatta University, Alma Training Institute, Mombasa. (1)

Although OER Africa was set up in 2008 by SAIDE (South African Institute for Distance Education) it's based in Nairobi and has a Kenyan Director, Catherine Ngugi.

National OER initiatives

UNESCO and the Kenya Ministry of Education organized a Workshop on 28 and 29 January 2014 in Nairobi, Kenya, to formulate the draft Policy on Open Educational Resources for achieving high-quality Education for All. It's hoped that a Kenya OER Policy will be ready for the Minister of Education’s official approval by September 2014. Ms Shelmith Wanjohi is lead coordinator for the OER Policy Committee responsible for drafting the Policy and Work Plan. She is confident that “within the new Kenya Constitution and Kenya Vision 2030, the OER Policy will set a clear path for using OERs to achieve universal access to high quality education for all Kenyans.”

Regional OER initiatives

Institutional OER initiatives

Egerton University, Kenya, is part of the TESSA network.

References

1. ReVica/VISCED page for Kenya (http://virtualcampuses.eu/index.php/Kenya)

Reports


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