Australia's innovative education to boost Uhuru's Big Four agenda - envoy

Australian High Commissioner Alison Chartres presents her letter of accreditation to President Uhuru Kenyatta on December 8, 2017, at State House Nairobi /PSCU
Australian High Commissioner Alison Chartres presents her letter of accreditation to President Uhuru Kenyatta on December 8, 2017, at State House Nairobi /PSCU

Australian education system provides an avenue for many Kenyans to help deliver on President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four agenda for the country, Australian High Commissioner Alison Chartres has said.

"Whether it is technology, manufacturing, hospitality, tourism and the health sector, our education system caters for all those sectors,” she said on Friday at her residence, during a cocktail reception for members of the Kenya-Australia Alumni Association and representatives of Australian universities and colleges participating in the Australian Higher Education Fair organised by Australian Education Consultant.

The exhibition runs from March 1-6 in Nairobi, Nakuru and Eldoret counties and saw 25 Australian institutions of higher learning participate. This was the 19th edition of the Fair to be held in the country.

High Commissioner Chartres said their institutions are strong on quality, innovation, including the invention of WiFi, collaboration and partnerships and research.

She encouraged Kenyans who study in Australia to come back and contribute to the growth of the country and the region.

President Uhuru Kenyatta's Big Four agenda targets the expansion of manufacturing, affordable housing, food security,

and universal healthcare.

Speaking when he delivered a speech at a symposium on digital technology at the Strathmore College, Nairobi, on February 27, President Uhuru said he was confident that the digital revolution will help Kenya achieve the Big Four plan and ensure that growth transforms the lives of the people.

As at January 31, about 3,181 Kenyan students visa holders were studying in Australia, an increase of 20 per cent from the same date last year.

Out of these, 90 per cent are Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education graduates, which is a departure from the presumption the majority are from the International General Certificate of Secondary Education academic qualification.

According to Mahul Shah, the director of Australian Education Consultants, the increase is attributable to the snowball effect, given the high-quality education and the opportunities available in Australia.

"Many more people are coming back and encourage their friends to join Australian universities. The cost is much lower compared to other universities, say in the US and the UK, if you consider the fees charged in high-ranked universities," Shah said.

Naphtal Mwanziki, the KAAA vice chairman, said there are about 3,000 alumni from Australian universities, who have returned to the country to use the skills and knowledge gained.

He studied Masters in Veterinary Medicine at the University of Sydney in 2012-13 on a scholarship. He was the best student.

"The education system in Australia and Kenya's are a world apart. Lecturers go out of their way to make you understand. This is made possible due to the close lecturer-student engagement. Lectures are also recorded and you can review them from the university's website," Mwanziki said.

Australian education is hinged more on technical and science courses because its emphasis is on innovation.

In the past 21 years, Geet Chana, a director says, more than 15,000 Kenyans have been guided to travel to study at various colleges and universities in Australia through AEC. In its first year of operation in 1997, the consultancy sent 24 students to Australia and has now expanded to send upwards of 700 students a year.

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