The country’s first online university was founded with support from Kenya’s legislators, opening up a new path to academic education.
The National Assembly anticipates an initial intake of 7,100 applicants after the institution’s charter has been approved.
Depending on what the applicant wishes to study, the Open University of Kenya would charge prospective students between Sh10,400 and Sh10,900. The OUK will be located at the Konza Technopolis, a smart city planned to house Kenya’s newest technological advancements. It is still being developed, though.
The Technical Committee on the Establishment of the Open University of Kenya disclosed that it held in-depth discussions with other open universities before settling on the pricing range mentioned above. Its report on the matter claimed that the committee also evaluated the concept of affordability before choosing that amount.
Newly admitted candidates would pay Sh10,400 for each module in programs such the Bachelor of Data Science, Bachelor of Economics and Statistics, Bachelor of Science in Business and Entrepreneurship, Bachelor of Technology Education, and Bachelor of Cyber Security and Digital Forensics.
Paying Sh500 more every module will get you a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Sciences and Technology. Between four and six modules should be registered for by full-time students. The OUK will provide postgraduate programs in addition to conventional Bachelor degrees. They are the Diploma in Leadership and Accountability and the Diploma in Learning Design. The technical committee estimates that the aforementioned programs will cost Sh130,000 annually.
Not only in the most technologically advanced parts of the world, but even in underdeveloped nations like Africa, virtual learning is quickly gaining popularity. Online universities are a terrific option for anyone looking for high-quality education combined with in-demand skills because they rely on information and communication technology (ICT) and other tech-driven developments.
However, because they need digital infrastructure to function, they have high operational expenses. It comes as no surprise that the Kenyan Presidential Working Group recommended a Sh 1.8 billion operational budget for the OUK’s initial years of existence. The funding, which will come from Kenyan taxpayers, will go toward a number of first projects, including building physical buildings, ICT support infrastructure, purchasing teaching aids, learner support tools, and other things.
Just 30% of OUK’s budget would go toward paying employees’ salaries, as opposed to 80% for government-owned institutions in the nation. As a result, a large portion of the OUK personnel will be given the option of contract-based, part-time, or piecework employment.
Online university and delivering quality education in Africa
Many Africans find it challenging to acquire quality education due to a variety of factors, ranging from exorbitant expenses to subpar curriculum development. This is true of other fundamental necessities like healthcare and roads. Those who can afford university tuition costs frequently have to put up with outdated teaching strategies, inadequate science labs, crammed classrooms, and many other issues.
No longer do people have to be concerned about public organizations’ scarce seating or glaring infrastructure deficiencies. Modern technology is now available for learning thanks to the emergence of web-based institutions like the African Virtual University and the entirely online Nexford University. It’s important to note that these colleges have courses that, when taken, provide graduates a better chance of finding job. For instance, Nexford provides degrees in high-demand fields like Artificial Intelligence and Digital Transformation.
Virtual universities may help the continent produce future innovators, but there are some obstacles to online education that should not be disregarded. Online universities aspire to help underserved populations, just like fintech or telehealth businesses do. However, some places’ poor internet connectivity may make it difficult for students to finish their modules on time.
The issue of accreditation, which has long plagued many private colleges, is also important to note. Virtual colleges must make sure their courses are accepted by the nation’s university commission before promoting their game-changing programs. Another key issue is affordability. Virtual education is undoubtedly expensive, especially when a new institution is being started. Before setting tuition rates, an online university should take affordability into account.