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DIGITAL REVOLUTION

MKU students studied virtually for two semesters — chancellor

University used Microsoft Teams app for online meetings, teaching and conducting examinations

In Summary

• Mt Kenya University chancellor Prof John Struthers said a partnership with the telco Safaricom reduced internet connectivity costs for both staff and students. 

• The institution also partnered the tech firm Microsoft for e-learning software. 

Mount Kenya University council chair David Serem, PhD graduates Deng Akuey and Ignatius Munyiri with the institution's chairman and founder Simon Gicharu during the 18th graduation held virtually at the MKU main pavilion in Thika.
POWER TO READ: Mount Kenya University council chair David Serem, PhD graduates Deng Akuey and Ignatius Munyiri with the institution's chairman and founder Simon Gicharu during the 18th graduation held virtually at the MKU main pavilion in Thika.
Image: COURTESY

Students and staff at Mt Kenya University used online tools to complete two semesters of the academic calendar as institutions were closed due to Covid-19. 

Mt Kenya University chancellor Prof John Struthers said a partnership with the telco Safaricom reduced internet connectivity costs for both staff and students. 

The institution also partnered the tech firm Microsoft for e-learning software.  The university used Microsoft Teams application for online meetings, teaching and conducting examinations. 

Struthers challenged institutions to find innovative strategies to cope and adjust to the pandemic. He spoke during a virtual graduation ceremony held on Friday.

Struthers said with Covid-19 and the uncertainty it has brought, only innovations can help institutions to thrive.

 

He said despite challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic and the shutdown of schools last March, MKU has made successful undertakings through digital platforms.

The chancellor said after the shutdown of face-to-face learning, the institution embarked on a transformation that has led it to an almost fully online teaching university.

Despite the shutdown, the institution managed to complete the first and second semester for the 2020 academic year.

He said the MKU and TV47 partnership during the Covid-19 closure was also instrumental in the university’s successful transition to online teaching.

The university also offered online training to 130 youths in Kajiado and Nairobi counties on entrepreneurship. It also trained, virtually, members of the Nairobi-based Mums in Business Organization. This was a joint venture with the Women Enterprise Fund.

 

Vice-chancellor Prof Stanley Waudo said through digital learning, MKU successfully completed the January – April 2020 semester.

Also completed were the distance, institutional-based electronic learning April 2020 session and the May-August 2020 semester.

He noted that an evaluation was conducted in September by the Directorate of Quality Assurance, Ministry of Education and confirmed that online teaching was a success and impactful.

Areas of strength were identified while areas of improvement as presented by the students have since been addressed.

The VC noted that after the institution was declared compliant with the Covid-19 prevention measures final year medical and community oral health students were recalled. They returned to campus to undertake clinical rotations and sit for examinations in early September.  The second cohort of students reported at the University on October 5.  

“Let us all continue to keep safe and observe the prevention protocols as we pray for the eradication of the Covid-19 pandemic,” Waudo said.

ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru said Kenya is already a model in ICT development more so during the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said that the number of internet users in Kenya was estimated at 22.86 million in January 2020. This is an increase of 3.2 million from the previous year. 

Mucheru said the government is focused on boosting access to internet connectivity around the country, especially in the underserved areas.

“If anything, Covid-19 has taught us that technology is a critical enabler of societal resilience,” he added.