Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology (MMUST) has launched its first ever digital library in the country with over 60,000 eBooks.
The digital library, a partnership between MMUST and Diversity Education Institute (DEI –Africa), will provide the students with the convenience of learning at their own comfort.
Undergraduate and post-graduate students as well as students in secondary schools will be able to access and read the library materials in various digital formats like eBooks, audiobooks and video books anytime and anywhere using either a smartphone or a computer.
The digital library will go a long way in promoting a reading culture among the students so that they can not only perform better in languages but also in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) related courses at the university.
In higher learning institutions, besides the low enrollment students in science related courses, those taking STEM courses have been performing poorly.
“The digital library has over 60,000 e-books and our main mission is to improve STEM education performance in Kenya. The students both at the university and the secondary schools will access reading materials easily,” said Dr Catherine Aura,is the director at the Directorate of International Relations and Academic Linkages.
Jacob Misisi, who is in charge of virtual library sessions, said that all students will access learning materials regardless of their location, saying it will go a long way in increasing school retention rate and improve on its outreach programmes.
“Many students have been deferring their course work, especially the Open, Distance and e-Learning, and even drop out after being unable to get study materials from the library. Now that will be a thing of the past as you can access our library from anywhere around the globe."
At the same time, the university has been made the administrator and owner of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education International Conference (STEMEIC) by DEI-Africa. The handing-over ceremony was attended by the institution’s Vice Chancellor, Prof Solomon Shibairo and the DEI-Africa CEO Alphonse Furuma.
“As a university, we are honored to have the opportunity of running the STEMEIC conference and the digital library. I want to assure you that the two are in safe hands. The university management has been supporting DEI and MMUST projects and will continue to support future collaborations,” Prof Shibairo said.
According to Shibairo, besides ensuring that the students fully utilize the digital library in fast-tracking research and innovations, the university management will ensure that thousands of Kenyans are able to access it free of charge.
“We are going to run and manage the digital library like no other. The impact of over sixty 60,000 eBooks is going to be enormous. The digital library is a plus for the university as the institution will be vital in increasing the literacy levels in the country,” said Shibairo.
According to Mr Furuma, the digital library receives new books every day from international authors, writers and publishers, saying that there will be for frequent updating and monitoring and then backed up so that the resources are permanently available online.
He added this will be a relief to parents who cannot afford the cost of online books, yet reading is a major component of education.