University Academic & Social Supportto Students with Difficulties: Insights from Moi University, Kenya Prof. Bob Wishitemi Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research & Extension) Paper presented at IAU Conference, 16th – 18th Nov 2011, Safari Park Hotel (Nbi), Kenya
Higher Education in Kenya: A context• Higher Education in Kenya, like in other African countries is a recent phenomenon• HE has expanded rapidly from one public university in 1970 to current 7• New public universities are being created• Diverse implications for HE in different contexts• Varied manifestations/developments in Africa• Africa responds in ways peculiar to its circumstances • Role of Africas HEIs in social, economic, Pol. Dev. • Ability to change/induce change in society • New opportunities, attendant risks & challenges - How do we grapple/respond?
Knowledge vs Vision 2030Kenya’s Vision 2030 seeks to transform the countryinto a Newly Industrialized Country (NIC) by the year 2030. Knowledge has been identified as the driver of Kenya’s Vision 2030 KNOWLEDGE (EDUCATION}
Challenges• the failure of the HE system to stimulate industrialization, accelerate sustained economic growth and reduce over reliance on agriculture;• apparent lack of innovation and creativity among the graduates of the HE system; and• inability of the country to respond to economic, social, political and natural shocks, including disasters attributed to climate change.• Weak institutional capacities-Research/human capacity/ Curricular innovations • Declining funding • Governance challenges • Quality and diversity of academic programs • Unequal access at all levels
The challenge of Access to HE• Increasing demand for higher education About 50,000 students miss university places annually- will increase to 160,000 by 2015• Socio-economic factors e.g. deepening of poverty• Rising cost of living (HE more expensive)• Family backgrounds of learners & inadequate safety nets for disadvantages students • Maintaining quality, ensuring equity & affordability
The challenge of Access to HE• Overstretched loan scheme-HELB & lack of diversification of funding mechanisms• Exclusionary practices • Regional disparities • Early marriages• The impacts of HIV/AIDS • Government making steps to expand higher education to provide more access • More financial support to the loans board
Insights from Moi University MOI UNIVERSITY ISO 9001: 2008 CERTIFIED
Insights from Moi University Background • Moi University was established in 1984 as second university in Kenya• Objective of establishment was to expand access after demand exceeded capacity of University of Nairobi. • Student population has grown from 83 to 28,000 within 25 Yrs!
Insights from Moi UniversityBackground• Located in a rural set up in Eldoret, 340 Kms from Nairobi• A comprehensive university with diversity of academic programs ranging from Medicine, Engineering, Arts, Humanities, Business, Aerospace Sciences, Information Sciences etc• Currently there are 13 Schools in total
Unique Programmes Aerospace Sciences Textile Engineering Telecommunications Engineering Chemical and Process Engineering Telemedicine
Support to students with financialdifficulties• HELB• Financial support programs such as Rattansi• Work study programs to enable poor students get income to supplement their resources• Fees waiver to students in dire need• Fund raising by university community to aid disadvantaged students • Support to refugee students (Currently there are 38 refugee students from neighboring countries)
The role of IGERD• Established in 2003 to promote gender development in the university• Advocates and promotes gender equity through affirmative action• Promotes development of gender policies• Promotes education of ‘the girl child’
Work study programs• The university has established work study programs to support needy students• These are tenable within the library, catering services, specialized labs and extension projects• This enables students to earn additional income • Supplement their needs and learning costs
University links with industry/ private sector• Links between University and private sector can play an important role in supporting disadvantaged students• The university has created links and collaborations with companies and industries for mutual benefit. • Some include support to students e.g links with Safaricom, Bamburi cement, e.t.c.
Career advisory centre• The university has establishes a career advisory centre –Professional talks –Advice to students on placements –Internships –Liaison with prospective employers –Priority to students with dire needs (financial)
Support to students with disabilities/physically challenged• Collaborations with the Kenya Society for the blind• To develop programmes for special needs in education• Supportive facilities e.g. Braille, special computers e.t.c• Infrastructure (Buildings have been modified to accommodate physically challenged.• Inclusive nature of curriculum – No discrimination• Uphold the philosophy that disability is not inability • University recognizes the fact that they have potential and goals to achieve.
Distribution of Moi University CollegesProviding more & Campusesopportunities…Taking Education to thepeople!
Providing more opportunities…• ICT Inter-campus Connectivity
Providing moreopportunities…• E-Library (Sharing of e-resources)
Providing moreopportunities…• E-Learning Platform – Marginally disadvantaged students can easily access content without having to incur much costs
Providing more opportunities through PSSP programs• Most universities in Kenya have established the Privately Sponsored Students Program• It opens up opportunities for access to students who would have otherwise missed university education.• Currently about 15,000 students are enrolled within this program at Moi University • Funds generated from this program are used to develop infrastructure within the university • Part of it is ploughed back for the welfare of the students
Extension and outreach programs• Moi University is a rural based institution• It has strong outreach and extension services• Most university projects involve the community• The Ampath project…• VLIR Project• Community Based Medical training.• Legal aid clinics• All these provide opportunities for students to gain more learning opportunities• Some of these projects such as Ampath and VLIR support students through training opportunities
RIVATEX University encourages entrepreneurship for technology transfer through outreach programmes such as Rivatex East Africa Ltd The factory provides practical training to students Employment to the community and promotion of agricultural development in the cotton industry Research opportunities to staff and partners
Providing an enabling learningenvironment• Building capacities of learners to enable them succeed• Provision of support facilities e.g health facilities• Support to learners with challenges and special needs• Attract and reward talented staff• Problem- based learning engages learners to solve real-life issues – This assists learners to share knowledge – those with disabilities are able to learn from their colleagues
CONCLUSION – Way Forward• Need for government to formulate policies that guarantee the establishment of centers of excellence in institutions of higher learning• Promote ‘self-paced’ learning• Develop Institutional mechanisms to support needy/disadvantaged students• Admission policies should articulate criteria for attracting disadvantaged students
CONCLUSION - No more exclusionWe have to respondProvide oportunities/mitigate risksNot a time for more isolation!