Students who are unable to afford fees in colleges and universities in Kenya could soon have a cheaper way of earning degrees and diplomas after the National Assembly granted the approval for the establishment of Kenya’s first virtual university.
The House, while debating a report tabled by a technical committee set up to establish the virtual university, said that the setting up of the institution will provide a better alternative to learners in the country.
The MPs as a result, approved the preliminary charter for the Open University of Kenya (OUK), setting the stage for the admission of the first cohort of 7,100 distance e-learners.
The institution – which is expected to leverage on the country’s digital infrastructure, will charge fees of between Sh10,400 and Sh10,900 per module, depending on the course.
The modules charging Sh10,400 will include 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.
Other courses such as Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Sciences and Technology are on the other hand expected to cost about Sh10,900.
“For the two post-diploma courses – Diploma in Learning Design and Technology and Postgraduate Diploma in Leadership and Accountability – offered in the first year, the projected fee per year is Sh130,000,” said the report by the Technical Committee on the Establishment of the Open University of Kenya.
Full-time students at the institution will take between four and six modules. The Open University of Kenya will be situated in Machakos at the Konza Technopolis.
The Draft Charter for the Open University of Kenya was submitted to the National Assembly on June 15, 2023, seeking Parliamentary approval as per Section 24 (1)(b) of the Universities Act, (2012).
The Charter’s objective is to establish a national Open University specialized in providing university programs through distance and e-learning modes.
Section 24(1)(b) of the Universities Act, 2012 stipulates the establishment of a national open university as a specialized institution to offer programs through distance and e-learning.
The Act stipulates that the President will establish such a university upon the recommendation of the Commission for University Education (CUE) through the Cabinet Secretary for Education, subject to Parliament’s approval.
National Assembly Committee on Delegated Legislation chairman Samuel Chepkonga said that the Open University of Kenya will facilitate broader access to university education through flexible modes of study.
“The intention is to ensure that regardless of one’s location in the country, he or she will not be disadvantaged due to the distance from established universities,” said Chepkonga who is also the Ainabkoi MP.
Additionally, the university will employ technology to overcome geographical limitations and facilitate access in various locations.