Education PS Kipsang assures quality in the new Open University

 

Basic Education PS Belio Kipsang when he appeared before the National Assembly Education Committee on the budget estimates in Nairobi on  June 16, 2023. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

Education PS Belio Kipsang has assured Kenyans that the yet-to-be-accredited Open University of Kenya will maintain high-quality standards and that the curriculum and the instruction will be as good as any degree offered in the in-person programmes.

He said the new university will allow more people to access quality higher education and will be modelled alongside other in countries like Israel.

“There is international practice all over the World on Open universities and Kenya will have its own based on those practices,” he said adding that the Kikuyu Campus based Extra-Mural programmes have been offering degree courses for eons and the graduates have been as good if not better.

Dr Kipsang’ noted that there is a need for the entrenchment of ICTs in the teaching and learning process as well as the management of education.

This includes equipping learning institutions with ICT infrastructure and developing the capacity of education managers, teachers and other stakeholders to appreciate digital literacy.

He emphasised the need for governments in Africa to ensure equal access to education and learning opportunities for all as espoused in Sustainable development goals Number Four of the United Nations.

Speaking at the closing of the Fourth African Curriculum Association Conference in Nairobi, Kipsang urged African countries and educationists to forever develop curricula not just for knowledge but for other human capacity development.

“African countries should focus on designing curricula that develop learner competencies as opposed to memorization,” he said noting that the curricula that are responsive to the 21st Century demand the promotion of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

Additionally, he called on Africa not to forget the place of indigenous languages, indigenous knowledge and indigenous technologies warning that the euphemism from the term best practices must be cautiously adopted.

He announced that the Presidential Working Party on Education has completed its work and is due to submit its report to President William Ruto after six months of consultations.

Yakba Wassou Nathan from Chad presented that in his country access to Early Childhood programmes is determined by the socio-economic status of the family with the rich having an upper hand whilst other children hardly get access.

Grace Chiboko from Nigeria posited that whilst traditional classrooms are teacher-oriented, with learners as passive members who only depend on teachers, the 21st-century classroom provides opportunities for learners to construct their own knowledge, skills, values and attitudes through active participation.

Speaking at the closing ceremony, KICD Executive Director said it was a great opportunity for Kenya to have hosted the conference, especially at a time the country was implementing a new curriculum.

He announced that papers presented at the conference will be published in a book for future reference.

ACA Secretary General Gertrude Namubiru announced that the next conference will be held next year in Ivory Coast as the organisation strives to organize and facilitate training programmes as they promote joint research among African countries.

Some of the countries represented at the three-day conference include Chad, Benin, Uganda, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Congo Brazzaville, Gambia, Eswatini, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Niger, South Sudan, among others.