Varsities turn to online teaching in face of virus threat

Tuesday March 24 2020
PIX

Former Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology Vice-Chancellor Prof Mabel Imbuga speaks during the commissioning of an e-learning programme at the University in 2013. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By OUMA WANZALA
By ONYANGO K’ONYANGO

Universities are turning to online teaching to ensure that students complete their studies as scheduled after face-to-face lessons were suspended following cases of coronavirus in the country.

The University of Nairobi has asked postgraduate students to continue engaging their supervisors. The institution suspended face-to-face teaching yesterday.

“We intend to review our work flow with a view to allowing staff in non-critical areas to undertake their duties from home,” said Vice-Chancellor Prof Stephen Kiama.

LEARNING SUSPENDED

Moi University has also suspended classes over the coronavirus threat.

The VC, Prof Isaac Kosgey, said on Monday that all learning activities had been suspended with immediate effect.

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“All our clients should know that the university has suspended all its services except for essential services like security, health and central services,” said Prof Kosgey in a memo to all the students and staff.

“The university senate will meet Tuesday at 8.30 am to give further directions on the situation,” he added, while directing staff and students to be extremely cautious and take measures spelt out in the regulations by the Ministry of Health.

READ: Coronavirus in Kenya: 22 quarantined at Mbagathi Hospital

Mount Kenya University acting VC, Prof Peter Wanderi, says the university has extended the online teaching platform to the regular students to facilitate the learning process.

“Online learning will be supplemented through televised lectures in collaboration with TV 47,” said Prof Wandera.

On Sunday, President Uhuru Kenyatta directed that learning institutions suspend face-to-face learning due to the coronavirus threat.

St Paul’s University will close on Friday for 30 days but subject to government advice.

“For the remaining part of the semester, classes and other planned academic sessions, including continuous assessment tests, will be administered virtually,” said VC Joseph Galgalo.

At Meru University, VC Romanus Odhiambo encouraged students to create WhatsApp groups as well as use the common class emails to communicate with lecturers to continue with lessons during the partial lockdown.

LEAVE INSTITUTION

“Postgraduate students doing research should remain in contact with supervisors,” said Prof Odhiambo.

At Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, the VC, Prof Victoria Ngumo, said students have until Thursday to leave the institution.

READ: MKU stops classes over coronavirus

Africa Nazarene University was the first academic institution to suspend learning as a precautionary measure following the first confirmed case of Covid-19 on Friday.

VC Stanley Bhebhe says the decision followed revelations that the contact trace of the confirmed case included Ongata Rongai, where the institution is based.

Meanwhile, Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha has directed schools to make arrangements to use school buses to ferry learners to their homes or nearest designated drop-off points in the wake of the outbreak.

Prof Magoha, in a circular to education officials, said the drop-off points must be within proximate distance that the learners can be picked up from by their parents.

“All school buses belonging to day schools should also be mobilised for the purpose,” said the Cabinet Secretary.