The Mount Kenya University (MKU) has signed an agreement with American technology giant Microsoft Corporation, to transform teaching and learning at the institution.
To implement the agreement, MKU, through its Board of Directors, is investing Ksh300 million in relevant ICT infrastructure, software and faculty training over a three-year period, as well as providing other requisite resources.
MKU Council Vice-Chairman Dr Vincent Gaitho announced this during the signing ceremony at the university’s main campus in Thika town on May 16.
Explaining the essence of the Education Transformation Agreement (ETA), Microsoft Corporation’s Vice-President, Worldwide Education, Mr Anthony Salcito, says the most important use of ICT “is to improve education”. But he notes that “in many countries in the World, we have not yet seen digital transformation in education”.
Change, he adds, requires strong partnerships and trust.
“To transform education in and beyond the classroom. We need to drive for both holistic and systemic change and work collaboratively to bring the best ideas, tools, and partnerships forward. The new era of digital learning requires all stakeholders from government leaders, curriculum publishers, equipment manufacturers, technology providers, and service organisations aligning to enable change.”
The Microsoft Education Transformation Agreement is the execution template for the Microsoft Transformation Framework and a comprehensive joint public-private partnership to enable positive changes to teaching and learning and improved outcomes for students.
Dr Gaitho informed those present during the ETA signing ceremony that the University Council and the Board of Directors are committed to ensuring MKU achieves digital transformation in education. That is why the university is investing millions of shillings in support of the agreement.
“The University Council will support the spirit and the letter of the agreement through ensuring that the policy framework is implemented,” Dr Gaitho said.
MKU Vice-Chancellor Prof Stanley Waudo noted that ICT infrastructure is a game changer in teaching and learning.
Prof Waudo added that the collaboration with Microsoft will help students gain the skills relevant to employability and entrepreneurship.
He pointed out that MKU Open Distance and Electronic Learning (ODEL) programmes are supported by ICT infrastructure. So is the MKU Distance, Institution-Based and Electronic Learning (DIBeL) programme.
MKU has 6,027 students and 11,039 students in the ODEL and DIBeL programmes respectively.
“MKU has made history as the first university in Africa to enter into this partnership,” says Dr John Kamau, the Dean, School of Computing and Informatics. “It joins 100 other institutions across the world that have done so.”
Dr Kamau says the partnership will sharpen students’ skills. They will also receive Microsoft certifications.
He says MKU faculty will receive training on the latest technologies such as data science, artificial intelligence and machine learning so that they can transfer that knowledge to the students.
MKU’s acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Administration, Planning and Institutional Advancement Dr Evans Mwiti, said the university is keen to ensure the country has a technologically empowered youth ready for the global job market.
The ETA training will confer benefits in three main areas. One is Leadership & Policy, essentially on managing change. Two is
21st Century Pedagogy, to enable technology integration into the curriculum. Three is Technology Design, meant to help create efficient and effective institutions.