Kenya in Search for Higher Ed Reform: Could Ed Tech be the Solution?

For years Kenyan officials in education have focused on investing in primary and secondary education. Like many developing countries, education has shown to be one of the most important factors in driving an economy upwards and restoring its community. Of course, primary and secondary education is a great place to start, where children can begin to read, write, and learn to create a moral grounding in how to interact with others. The Education Cabinet in Kenya, however, is looking to broaden its reach in educating its citizens and to grant access to what many young adult Kenyans do not have access to: higher education.
However, with great intentions and important goals, come great barriers in gaining access to college. Higher education is quite possibly the most expensive luxury existing today, and very few are so privileged to acquire that gift. From the the Daily Nation reported in the All Africa Global Media website on acquiring higher education in Kenya, “Restoring order and sanity in higher education requires a comprehensive and well-crafted strategy that takes into account funding, staffing, infrastructure, admission, courses, teaching and learning resources, management, and quality of graduates.” In the U.S, where an economic crisis has made it nearly impossible for thousands of students to attend a public four-year university, for a place like Kenya, beginning to answering these questions seems like a near-impossible task. Could there be another solution for higher education?

We believe in the power of distance learning. Some of a student’s largest barriers are overturned: on-campus living costs, skyrocketing tuition, expensive textbooks, and for many, just getting to a college presents a challenge all on its own. With the revolutions of online education however, tuition costs are cut, textbooks are a fraction of the cost, and in some cases, an entire college infrastructure isn’t even needed. For Kenya, online institutions could be a real, viable solution. For the millions who could not originally afford traditional college tuition or those who had no access to getting to an institution suddenly have a much more feasible option. The Kenyan government seems to be open-minded towards the online learning possibility. In a recent study by the Technical University of Kenya, they explain, “It is considerably clear that Kenyan public universities have taken significant steps and have shown their commitment towards implementation of e-learning. According to the E-Readiness Survey of Kenyan Universities (2013) Report, Kenyan universities are allocating an average of 0.5% of their total recurrent expenditures on Internet bandwidth to support implementation of e-learning.”

However, what makes an online education as successful, beneficial, and rewarding as a traditional college institution? We believe where many online institutions fall short is failing to prioritize social learning. Learning in itself is social. We communicate, spread ideas, debate, teach, ask questions, and collaborate through peer-to-peer and teacher-to-student interaction. When you can implement socialization into online courses, you can take the distance out of distance learning. Features such as instant messaging tools for students and teachers, video conferencing, live question feeds, classroom pages, and event pages maintain this kind of social environment. Although a seemingly rational approach, this type of platform is somewhat revolutionary. At iQ technologies, we want to create a world in which quality, affordable education is an option for everyone.

Read more about higher education in Kenya here.

Tarus, John, David Gichoya, and Alex Muumbo. “Challenges of Implementing E-Learning in Kenya: A Case of Kenyan Public Universities.” N.p., n.d. Web.
“Kenya: Higher Education Also Needs Reform.” AllAfrica.com. N.p., 27 Nov. 2016. Web. 01 Dec. 2016.