Universities Asked To Embrace Hybrid System of Learning.
Universities have been encouraged to abandon their conservative mindsets and embrace change.
Furthermore, heads of higher education institutions have been advised to harmonize their structures and implement a hybrid system in order to have smooth inter-university transfers to harness skills.
Dr. Juma Mukhwana, Director-General, and CEO of the Kenya National Qualifications Authority, stated that the sector has grown rapidly over time.
Mukhwana, on the other hand, noted that, despite the significant achievement, the education sector, from elementary to higher learning institutions, faces a number of challenges.
‘‘I do hope that as we address the issues of sustainable and lifelong, holistic learning, we are able as universities and scholars to provide some solutions to the challenges we face as a sector,’’ Mukhwana stated.
He was speaking at Kenyatta University’s 8th international annual conference on education and lifelong learning.
The conference, themed ‘Optimizing Holistic Education for Sustainable Development,’ comes as the government attempts to implement various education reforms to improve the sector.
Mukhwana emphasized that, despite shortfalls, the country is capable of producing quality graduates.
‘‘What is encouraging is how resilient our education system has remained to be solid and very steadfast in addressing the issues that we faced as a country and as a region despite the challenges,’’ Mukhwana said.
Mukhwana observed that many universities in the country remain resistant to reform, urging them to embrace change in order to meet the needs of their clients.
‘‘We tend to keep a rigid kind of system in our universities and think that the learners can fit in. Whenever you try to introduce a new idea, they will tell you that is not the way we do things. This is the reason we are left behind,’’ he said.
He stated that for a long time, learning was associated with informal learning and the broader spectrum of formal education’s role.
He did, however, claim that several roadblocks have been erected, impeding much-needed change.
Mukhwana said that the country’s universities have complicated their structures, making it difficult for students to transfer.
He urged institutions to harmonize their structures in order to facilitate inter-university transfers and to capitalize on skills gained formally or informally.
‘‘When you move to another university you find they have a different setup. In the end, we have ended up with many islands of success in this area that do not speak to each other,’’ said Mukhwana.
He stated that a comprehensive national system for recognizing skills, knowledge, and competencies acquired in a variety of ways should be integrated into the country’s learning culture.
He stated that, in order to meet the needs of students, universities must change their approach in the age of technology.
‘‘Let’s face it, in this era of social media and Google, does a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology still need to take 4 years at the University; when the student can pretty much teach themselves in all aspects of this course in one to two years?’’
Mukhwana stated that many students try to satisfy their natural curiosity in various ways and should be given the opportunity to demonstrate their abilities.
He urged universities to embrace technology as a mode of instruction in order to make education available to everyone, anywhere and at any time.