- The vice chancellor Dr Elijah Omwenga said they had developed a policy to ensure five trees were planted for each student admitted to the institution going forward.
- The trees were planted at Konza Technopolis City in Machakos county on Thursday.
Kenya's first fully virtual university has admitted 1,700 students in its first intake.
Last week, the university also led the planting of 800 trees to commemorate the admission.
The vice chancellor Dr Elijah Omwenga said they had developed a policy to ensure five trees were planted for each student admitted to the institution going forward. The trees were planted at Konza Technopolis City in Machakos county on Thursday.
Omwenga said the initiative was not only to compliment President William Ruto’s call for Kenyans to support the government’s vision of planting 15 billion trees by the year 2032, but to mitigate effects of climate change.
"Today is our commemoration day for receiving our first students, the first year, first semester. Students of the Open University of Kenya," Omwenga told the press during the tree planting event. The Open University of Kenya is located at Konza Technopolis City.
The VC said the university's academic calendar officially began on November 30, 2023.
Omwenga said the calendar commenced by orientation of 1,700 students who had been admitted after enrolling for various courses at the institution.
The University management together with its partners that included Equity Bank, National Research Fund, Higher Education Loan Board and the Ministry of Education participated in the tree planting event.
The university was chattered by the President on August 3, 2023.
"We have been going through the admission process and already have about 1, 700 student that we admitted," Omwenga said.
"We formally enrolled these students into the university today and they are now bona-fide students of the Open University of Kenya that we are proud of," he added.
Omwenga said they had seven flagship programmes at the university; five undergraduate and two postgraduate.
They include Bachelor of Data Science, Bachelor of Cyber Security and Forensics, Bachelor of Economics and Statistics and Bachelor of Education Technology.
The post graduate courses are Post Graduate Diploma in Leadership and Accountability and Post Graduate Diploma in Education Technology.
The VC said the undergraduate courses cost Sh105,000 while post graduate ones fees is Sh110,000 per year.
Omwenga said the institution was a chattered public university that admits students based on flexible admissions criteria.
"We have seven different modules of admission. One can come through the usual C plus in KCSE exam. But, at the Open University, we have added admission criteria which have been approved by the Commission for University Admission. This is one of the philosophies of openness," Omwenga said.
"The concept of openness is about flexibility of admission so that we recognise prior learning. Prior learning in the sense that students who may already have had their credentials, but didn't qualify to join public or private universities then. But, over time, they have gained experience at workplace or even in any other opportunities which they have had," Omwenga said.
"Those Kenyans and non-Kenyans wherever they are, are now admissible to the Open University of Kenya. We recognise prior learning, prior experience on the programme that you want to join. We also recognise any training that you have gone through at your work place or during your course and it has lasted a year or two," Omwenga said.
He termed it as a university for now and the future.
Omwenga said the school was a gamechanger in the space of availability and flexibility.
The VC said the programmes were well packaged to allow learners go to Learning Management System and access programmes and content.
"It's self-instructive in the sense that you are able to answer questions after learning on your own, you do all assignments, quizzes and instructions programmes to enrich yourself without having the lecturer present with you," Omwenga said.
Equity Bank associate director Energy, Environment and climate change Eric Naivasha said as a bank, they had planted 24 million trees since 2019.
"In 2021, we came here and planted 15,000 trees within Konza City Technopolis. So, it's a continuous partnership between Konza City and Equity Bank and now partnering with the Open University of Kenya to green this environment. As you can see around, this area requires significant amount of restoration in terms of trees," Naivasha said.
"As you can recall in 2019, when the bank was celebrating its 35 years of its existence, we made a commitment to plant 35 million trees across the country and today, we have so far planted 24 million trees. we have about 11 million trees to plant to achieve our target," Naivasha said.