KICD says e-learning key to address teachers' shortage

Elgeyo Marakwet County's Fluorspar Primary School students read story books using their Kobo eBooks during a library lesson. [File, Standard]

The Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) has called for utilisation of technology to enhance distance learning, to help address teachers shortage in the country. 

Speaking during the launch of newly acquired digital teaching screen boards at the Mount Kenya University (MKU), Thika, main campus, KICD Board Chairman, Simon Gicharu said that teacher deficit in the country is the biggest challenge due to population increase.

"The best way to address the issue of teacher shortage squarely lies in technology," Prof Gicharu said. 

The new screen board imported from China at a cost of Sh28 million will be used to enhance lecturer and student interaction virtually. 

Gicharu who is also the MKU Board of Directors chairman explained that the display board allows a lecturer to incorporate a range of useful apps or teaching aids that support simplifying different concepts in classrooms making virtual training effective.

He said that the traditional model of brick and  mortar will most likely be replaced by open universities that offer programmes through virtual platforms. 

"As a university, we need to ensure that we are alive to where the world is going to, embrace technological transformations and some changes that may be unpopular including the Artificial Intelligence (AI) concept," he said. 

Gicharu announced that the digital transformation agenda will be embraced in all open and distance electronic learning (ODEL) platforms and MKU students will be among the first in the country to benefit from this technology. 

"We expect that this interactive display will be fully integrated into our training at our Thika main campus and also in all our campuses and ODEL centres. We remain committed to ensuring that our students have the best learning experiences," he said. 

MKU Vice Chancellor Deogratius Jaganyi expressed confidence that the interactive screens will support content delivery and enhance interaction between students and lecturers. 

Prof Jaganyi said time was ripe for MKU to fully embrace the fourth industrial revolution by entrenching technology-mediated modalities of teaching and learning in order to meet the needs and expectations of the current generation.

Jaganyi disclosed that interactive displays at MKU will support collaborations, conferencing and presentations for postgraduate students hence promoting a vibrant research ecosystem in the universities. 

"All this will go a long way towards enhancing the transformative quality of teaching in e-learning and conferencing experiences at MKU," he said.

MKU Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Academic and Research Affairs, Merceline Kamonde, said that the university has more than 12,000 learners using online platforms who will benefit from the digital interactive displays.

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