Mount Kenya University (MKU) continues to attract a growing number of both self-sponsored (local and foreign) and government-sponsored students.
The deputy vice-chancellor in charge of academic and research affairs attributes this to several factors that underpin the institution’s service delivery.
Dr Bibianne Waiganjo-Aidi outlines 25 key areas that the university has invested in and refined in order to become a preferred higher learning destination in East Africa.
1. Academic Resources: MKU is expanding physical facilities that support quality teaching and learning.
“In July 2017, we unveiled the 13-storey Alumni Plaza which houses all administrative offices. This created more room for lecture halls and laboratories,” says Dr Waiganjo-Aidi.
She adds’ “Four months later, the board of directors launched the new, ultra-modern senate boardroom equipped with state-of-the-art communication and presentation equipment. We are now building a new, ultra-modern 2,000-seater auditorium to create more space for students’ forums, conferences, public lectures, among many other academic seminars and workshops. This facility will be ready for use later this year.”
Dr Waiganjo-Aidi further says that the university has well-equipped science and IT laboratories, library and other academic resources.
“Partner institutions and stakeholders have committed to add us more equipment to boost teaching. Also, at the heart of learning at MKU are qualified and committed teaching and non-teaching staff,” she says.
MKU has a moot court and a journalism studio to support the learning of lawyers and journalists respectively.
2. Conferences and Seminars: At MKU, students get opportunities to publish and present their research findings in conferences organised by the university.
3. Quality Assurance: MKU has in place stringent mechanisms of monitoring student and lecture attendance through compulsory sign-ins. These records are updated daily in the university’s management information system to enable the deans and heads of departments to analyse the data and make appropriate recommendations.
In addition, the directorate of quality assurance carries out at least two internal and one external quality audit each academic year to promote continuous improvement of quality service provision for staff, students and other stakeholders. Feedback from customers is also a key component of MKU’s quality service provision.
4. Integrity of Examinations: MKU’s examination processes are anchored in its statutes and examination policy guidelines. These provide for the appointment of internal and external invigilators. All applicants to these positions must submit a recommendation from employers or supervisors from within and without the institution in addition to integrity letters from the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission. Once appointed, they are trained on their mandate before being deployed to examination halls.
During the September-December 2017 semester/trimester, the university rolled out its new range of bar-coded examination booklets. Therefore, only genuine booklets from the university are used during examinations.
The coding and archiving of students’ booklets will further help safeguard their marks. Hence, at MKU, students need not worry about the challenge of “missing marks”.
In its long-term plans, MKU will introduce CCTV cameras in examination halls to support the work of invigilators.
5. Programme Accreditation and Approval: MKU programmes are approved and accredited by the Commission for University Education (CUE) and other relevant regulatory bodies. This is a hallmark of confidence in the institution’s ability to mount quality, market-driven programmes.
The process of developing such programmes is exhaustive and rigorous, thus yielding market-driven courses admired by both local and international students.
MKU’s physical presence in Kigali, Rwanda, is an attestation of such efforts. This is in addition to its distance, institution-based and electronic learning programmes that attract foreign students from across Africa and other parts of the globe.
CUE audits have assisted the university and its campuses to enhance adherence to academic bodies and regulatory guidelines concerning accreditation and reviews of programmes.
The university’s programmes, heavily developed through stakeholder involvement, are approved by the senate and CUE, and are listed on the commission’s website. They include postgraduate diplomas, undergraduate, masters and PhD programmes.
MKU has crafted a niche in technology, business, IT, social sciences and the health sciences programmes.
The confidence expressed in this institution by the high number of government-sponsored applicants underscores the demand for market-driven programmes.
6. International Recognition: MKU is fully chartered and ISO 9001:2015 certified. It is committed to compliance with international standards on quality.
The university is a member of The Association of Commonwealth Universities.
7. Convenient Fees Payment Mode: MKU allows flexible fees payment in easy percentage instalments of 30:30:20:20.
8. Accessible Campuses: Students have a choice to study from any of MKU’s accredited campuses in Kenya and other countries, hence increased access to and equity in university education. All campuses have Wi-Fi internet connection. There is also the digital varsity.
9. Flexible Study Options: MKU’s flexible modes of learning include fulltime, digital learning, institution-based learning and part-time (evening and weekends) studies.
10. Course Completion Time: At MKU, students complete their courses within the stipulated timeframes because their academic progress is monitored and evaluated continuously.
11. Student Welfare Support: For students’ convenience, the university has accommodation facilities and a student centre that houses a restaurant serving international cuisines.
The university has a gym too and a salon/barber shop. The student centre has shops for students’ basic needs. It also has laundry and dry cleaning services. An integrated sick bay offers basic health services and ensures a healthy environment for the university community.
12. Sports Facilities: These include a swimming pool, gym and indoor games arena. The sporting and recreation activities at the university include rugby, football, tennis, volleyball, athletics, swimming and others such as drama and dance.
13. Financial Aid: MKU students can receive financial aid from the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB), Constituency Development Funds (CDFs) and bursaries.
14. Scholarships: MKU offers DAAD funded postgraduate scholarships.
15. Academic/Social Trips: The university owns a fleet of buses. Thus, transport for academic and social trips is always available.
16. Academic Exchanges: Students and staff benefit from academic exchanges with foreign and local institutions of higher learning. With the Bonn Rhein Sieg University (BRSU) of Applied Sciences (Germany) and Vincent Pol University (Poland) taking the lead, MKU encourages students and staff from universities abroad and vice-versa to engage in collaborative exchange programmes.
17. Student Advisory Services and Graduate Placement: MKU has expanded and revamped its career and alumni services directorate to sharpen its student mentorship efforts. The university produces highly skilled, employable graduates. Some venture into self-employment and create jobs for themselves and others.
18. Multicultural Diversity: MKU recognises the diversity of its student population and develops talents through cultural events.
19. Community Service/Engagements: MKU is committed to carrying out corporate social responsibility through activities that add value to the community.
20. E-Learning Facilities: MKU has invested heavily in ICT and other technologies, such as kindles, that support convenient learning.
21. Research and Development: MKU creates innovators and supports them to commercialise their innovations and inventions.
22. Academic Character: MKU offers an all-rounded education, including moral and professional education.
23. Transition Rate: Students progress from one level to another at a very high rate, an indicator of satisfaction.
24. Security: Enhanced security at the university and within its environs is provided through 24-hour CCTV camera surveillance and night patrols by security agencies.
25. Synergetic Partnerships: MKU partners with research institutions, universities and hospitals. It also forges strong industry-academia linkages.