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Memoranda on Kenya’s Digital Literacy Programme Signed

ICT Authority, Kenya Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Katherine Getao, has signed Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology and Moi University for the implementation of Digital Literacy Programme Phase II.

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Photo: By Kurian Musa/Correspondent.Africa

ICT Authority, Kenya Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Katherine Getao, has signed Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology and Moi University for the implementation of Digital Literacy Programme Phase II.

The objective of the Programme is to impart learners with the required skills and knowledge to competitively participate in a knowledge-based economy. These skills include critical thinking, creativity, communication, collaboration, and innovation.

The Government of Kenya (GoK) has undertaken integration of ICT in teaching and learning across the education system. Through DLP, the government is preparing learners for the digital and competitive 21st century knowledge economy.

This Programme is targeting 24,000 public primary schools spread across the country.

The Programme is in three Phases, Phase I provided digital devices with preinstalled digital interactive content for lower primary (Grades 1 to 3). Phase II is targeting learners for grades 4 to 6 whereas, Phase III will target grades 7 and above.

The Government has so far substantially completed Phase I of the Programme covering 21,638 schools. 1,167,245 devices have been installed with digital content for grade 1-3, with over 218,000 teachers trained. Over 22,000 schools have also connected with electricity. The implementation of DLP I, (2016 – 2019), provided digital devices with preinstalled digital interactive content for lower primary, grades 1 to 3.

The DLP phase II (2019-2023) is geared to provide advanced learner digital devices for upper primary (grades 4 to 6) in line with Competency Based Curriculum (CBC) roll out in middle school. The Special Needs Education Learner Digital Device will also be supplied and installed in the special needs’ schools in the three years’ contract.

In her remarks, the CEO asked academia to partner with ICT Authority to integrate research and development (R&D) when addressing the challenges faced in phase I.

“Let us learn from the challenges of the first phase to improve the second phase. Our aim is for the government to support learning for children who are currently at home because of covid19. Our hope is that every child gets a device,” said Dr. Getao.

On her part, the JKUAT Vice-Chancellor Prof. Victoria Ngumi lauded the partnership between her university and ICT Authority.

“The government to government procurement has plentiful benefits. JKUAT is ready to support the e-Learning for the Kenyan child,” she said.

On his part the Moi University Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Isaac Kosgey, thanked the ICT Authority for the continued partnership.

He added, “Moi University is already leading the way in digitizing learning and there is need for the academia to pool expertise in research and development. I also request the ICT Authority CEO to host a conference on the same.”

Dr. Getao welcomed the idea saying that, when universities join hands, they pool expertise to design a home-grown device that is suitable and affordable for the Kenyan child.

Also present during the two MoU signing ceremonies were: The ICT Authority Director for Programmes & Standards Paul Rono, JKUAT Ag. DVC (Finance) Prof. Jackson Kwanza, Moi University DVC (finance) Prof. Daniel Tarus, JKUAT Project Manager Dr. Kibet Langat, Moi University Dean, School of Information Science Prof. Justus Wamukoya, and the Moi University Project Manager Dr. Kiyeng Chumo.

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Education

Egerton University Celebrates Inaugural Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Richard Musangi

Under the leadership of Prof. Musangi, Egerton College experienced tremendous development in the 1980s.

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.Prof. Musangi, who was born in 1934 in Bungoma County, Western Kenya, was the Principal of Egerton College between 1981 and 1987.

The Egerton University community mourns the passing of Prof. Richard S. Musangi and celebrates the University’s connection to this distinguished scholar, educator, and academic administrator.

Prof. Musangi, who was born in 1934 in Bungoma County, Western Kenya, was the Principal of Egerton College between 1981 and 1987.

Upon the elevation of the College to a University in the latter year, he became the inaugural Vice-Chancellor of Egerton University, serving in that capacity until 1992.

Prof. Musangi fondly remembered that his association with Egerton College started in 1961, when, as a final-year Agriculture student at Makerere College, he and his classmates stayed for two nights at the College while touring neighbouring farms. His next encounter with the College was in 1965, when, as a lecturer in Animal Science at Makerere, along with other colleagues, he came to Egerton to examine students for the East African Diploma in Agriculture, which was conducted from Makerere. In 1972, Musangi, as a lecturer in Animal Science at the University of Nairobi, was appointed an external examiner for Egerton College. At about the same time, Musangi joined the Egerton College Board of Governors (BoG) by virtue of being the Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture at Nairobi. Prof. Musangi became the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Nairobi in 1979, and it is from that position that he came to Egerton College.      

Under the leadership of Prof. Musangi, Egerton College experienced tremendous development in the 1980s. Prof. Musangi steered the institution through a major United States Agency for International Development (USAID)/Government of Kenya-sponsored expansion programme. The actual implementation of the programme was a joint venture between the Egerton authorities and the South East Consortium for International Development (SECID), USA. The programme entailed the development of various forms of infrastructure, counterpart training for Egerton staff, and acquisition of equipment. Promoting research, teaching, and community service, the programme constituted a big leap forward for Egerton. The SECID impact on infrastructure and staff development not only increased the student population from 860 in 1982 to 1526 in the 1986/1987 academic year but also solidified the chances for the eventual upgrading of the College to a fully-fledged University.

Another development at Egerton specifically attributable to Prof. Musangi was the Institutional Development for Agricultural Training (IDAT) programme. The purpose of IDAT was to strengthen and consolidate the activities under the previous expansion programme, which had ended in July 1984. IDAT resulted in additional training opportunities for Egerton staff.

Two new diploma programmes were initiated at Egerton in the 1980s in addition to the fourteen already established. These were Diploma in Food Marketing and Diploma in Forestry. The launching of these programmes demonstrated Egerton’s flexibility and capacity to respond to national and broader needs. By 1980, agricultural marketing had been identified as a hindrance to agricultural development in Kenya. Similarly, the Diploma in Forestry was in line with a new Government approach focussing on rural afforestation for national development.

An expert builder of intricate academic and development networks, internationally respected and connected to numerous donors, Prof. Musangi stimulated unprecedented vibrancy in research, outreach, and related activities at his institution. In particular, Prof. Musangi spearheaded the intensification of Egerton’s outreach programme, which led to the setting up of the Agricultural Resources Centre (ARC). Similarly, under him, Egerton’s collaboration with the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT), which had started in 1975, deepened. This collaboration resulted in joint work in a variety of projects as well as in the establishment of the Crop Management Research and Training Centre (CMRT). Both ARC and CMRT continue to thrive as facilities for training of agricultural professionals at the University.

The establishment of linkages between Egerton College and other institutions owed a great deal to Prof. Musangi’s personal initiative. Besides the institutional linkages between Egerton and the SECID universities, collaborative activities developed between the College and other institutions – especially in research and extension. The linkages expanded as Egerton College became a University.

Concerned about the state of farms around the College, in 1984 Prof. Musangi established an extension project whose aim was to disseminate the knowledge generated at his learning institution to the benefit of farmers in the neighbourhood.

The increased demand for academic staff at the growing institution led to aggressive recruitment in the 1980s. Prof. Musangi travelled overseas to personally meet identified bright postgraduate students to persuade them to join Egerton upon the completion of their studies, and he successfully recruited a number of such staff. By the end of 1985, Egerton College had a faculty of 134 full-time members, 13 of whom had Ph.D. degrees, and 50 had M.Sc. degrees.

Aided by his administration, Prof. Musangi also took significant steps to promote the welfare of staff through such projects as a tenant service scheme, extramural studies, recreation and the Catholic chaplaincy. With foresight and decisiveness, Prof. Musangi abolished the institutional credit system which had made many Egerton employees perpetual debtors. Working closely with the BoG, Prof. Musangi also brought about the development of Kilimo Primary School and Egerton Primary School.

Prof. Musangi was the driving force behind the College’s renewed effort in the early 1980s for its elevation to the status of a University. The push for the introduction of degree programmes at Egerton persuaded the Government to set up the Egerton College Upgrading Committee (the Ayany Committee) in December 1983 to look into the issue. The Ayany Committee submitted its report on 30 April 1984. The Committee was fully satisfied that the College was ready, in terms of both availability of land, and physical and academic infrastructure, to start degree courses.

Subsequently, the Government decided to first upgrade Egerton College to a Constituent College of the University of Nairobi in 1986. It was, therefore, the University of Nairobi Senate which approved the degree programmes for Egerton University College in the following five areas: Animal Production, Agricultural Engineering, Agricultural Education, Agriculture and Home Economics, and Horticulture.

At the same time, the Senate approved the following four faculties and fifteen departments for the new Egerton University College: Faculty of Agriculture – comprising the Departments of Horticulture, Agronomy (incorporating Crop and Soil Science), Natural Resources (Wildlife, Range Management, and Forestry), Animal Science, Animal Health, Agricultural Engineering, as well as Dairy and Food Science and Technology; Faculty of Agricultural Education and Human Resources – consisting of the Departments of Agricultural Education, Agricultural Extension, as well as Agriculture and Home Economics; Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences – having the Departments of Economics, Geography, and Anthropology; and Faculty of Science – comprising the Departments of Biological Sciences (Zoology and Botany) and Physical Sciences (Mathematics, Computer Science, Chemistry, and Physics).

Only a year later, in 1987, Egerton University was established as an independent institution through an Act of Parliament, becoming Kenya’s fourth public university (alongside University of Nairobi, Moi University, and Kenyatta University).

A vibrant and focused Vice-Chancellor, at the end of the 1980s and the start of the 1990s, Prof. Musangi laid a solid foundation for the growth of Egerton as a University, paying equal attention to academics, research, and community service. This was a difficult period for university education in Kenya, when a worsening economic situation in the country and the consequent decline in financial resources allocated by the Government to public universities, coupled with two double intakes of students (in the 1987/1988 and the 1990/1991 academic year), made the functioning of the newly established University challenging.

Prof. Musangi faced the difficulties and ensured growth and stability through an admirable balancing capability. With students, he was a strict disciplinarian, and at the same time he was their best advisor, an inspirer, and an undisputable role model. Sociable and approachable, he gave the impression of working with effortless ease, yet accomplishing all that he set out to do.

Prof. Musangi published widely in the area of Animal Science and Agricultural Education. On leaving Egerton University, he worked as a Consultant to several international organisations and development institutions.

In 2013, President Mwai Kibaki appointed him as the Chancellor of Kabianga University. In his retirement, he spent most of his time within Nakuru County, meeting and socialising with his former students, peers and friends, as well as enjoying the game of golf. Friends enjoyed his generosity and infectious laughter.

Throughout his work at Egerton College and Egerton University, Prof. Musangi exhibited impeccable managerial competence, imaginative initiative, clear vision, strictness, fairness, and unwavering dedication to service.

To the Egerton University Community, Prof. Richard S. Musangi, who died on 27 August 2021, will forever remain a beacon of light.

Writer,  PROF. ISAAC O. KIBWAGE, PhD, HSC AG. VICE-CHANCELLOR

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Business

The Canada-Africa Chamber of Business announces collaboration with McGill University

McGill University, a global leader at the forefront of academic research and scholarship in Canada, has begun work with The Canada-Africa Chamber of Business to advance sustainable development across African markets and Canada

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Following the jointly hosted Forum on the African Continent Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) (https://bit.ly/3kDxT9g) on August 25, held with representatives of the governments of Ghana and Senegal, the Canada-Africa Chamber of Business (www.CanadaAfrica.ca) and McGill University have announced a new partnership.

The announcement sees McGill University collaborating with The Canada-Africa Chamber of Business (CACB) in training, research, advisory and consultancy activities, mentorship, networking and information sharing.  All toward contributing to sustainable development efforts across multiple countries in Africa and globally.

‘The role of policy research and scholarship on Canada-Africa affairs is vital to delivering our information-sharing mandate, through world-class events and programs,’ says Garreth Bloor, President of The Canada-Africa Chamber of Business. ‘From early-stage entrepreneurs to established corporations, our members are set to benefit to immensely from a new initiative to which we are proud partners with McGill University.’

Professor Fabrice Labeau, McGill’s Deputy Provost, Student Life and Learning notes, ‘The long-term engagement of McGill with Africa is exemplified by our African Studies program. Established in 1969, it is the first of its kind in Canada. Additionally, with 200 years of McGill history, our very extensive network of alumni continues to make an impact in Africa and globally. An example of McGill’s current Africa partnerships is the Mastercard Foundation (MCF) Scholars Program (https://bit.ly/3gMBOj4) that has invested in over 100 African Scholars since 2013, and since 2020 includes a Transitions Project (https://bit.ly/3zxr1R3), with a focus on facilitating Scholars’ transitions to entrepreneurship or employment for impact in Africa.’

‘As part of the Transitions Project, there is an opportunity for businesses, governments and NGOs, including Canada-Africa Chamber members, to work with McGill on internships for MCF Scholars and recent graduates seeking experiences back home, or in African countries other than their own country of origin, contributing to greater mobility in line with AfCFTA. Also, through a pilot McGill MCF Transitions Fund (MCF-TF), partners can provide matching contributions for co-creating or scaling entrepreneurship and employment-creation projects with funded Scholars and recent graduates,’ highlights Dr. Nii Addy, McGill’s Associate Director, Africa Outreach.

Sebastian Spio-Garbrah, Chair of The Canada-Africa Chamber of Business and its Special Envoy to the AfCFTA Secretariat in Ghana, says ‘Canada is Africa’s trusted third party and an honest broker’.

‘The role of academia and think tanks is thus vital in not only working with the private sector directly, but extends to creating an enabling environment for trade and investment in partnership with Canadian and African leaders. The foresight and vision of McGill and Dr. Nii Addy in particular is applauded – as we ensure an exciting era in Canada-Africa trade and investment is upon us’.

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Education

Outgoing USIU-Africa Vice Chancellor donates $1 million library

Positioning Universities as Engines of Innovation for Sustainable Development and Innovation,” Journal of Higher Education in Africa, 2019.

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The United States International University-Africa has received a rare treasure trove of academic materials, including more than 10,000 textbooks valued at more than US$ 1 Million, from the outgoing Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Tiyambe Zeleza.
The academic gift comprises Prof. Zeleza’s personal academic library featuring books, transcripts, research papers, journals, and conference reports collected over the last four decades from various continents.
Speaking at a handover ceremony graced by Former Chief Justice Dr. Willy Mutunga among other dignitaries, Prof. Zeleza described his tenure at USIU-Africa as an unforgettable experience.
“Donating these books to USIU-Africa represents my dedication to enhancing the University’s learning and research capacities. More broadly, it reflects my lifelong passion for promoting African knowledge production and cultivating the culture of philanthropy in African universities,” Prof. Zeleza said.
He added that “I trust that the Professor Paul Zeleza collection will be well taken care of and benefit generations of faculty and students and researchers from across Africa. I have collected a valuable library that will help advance academic delivery in African, Diaspora, Development, Gender, Environmental, Cultural and Globalization studies. The library also holds books on economic history, intellectual history, creative works, and science and technology, areas I’ve immersed myself in and that the collection covers.”
Dr. Mutunga lauded Professor Zeleza for leaving an indelible mark on the history of the University.
“The books donated here today are a representation of Prof. Zeleza’s lifelong passion for promoting African knowledge production and cultivating the culture of philanthropy in African universities. The pride of any university lies in its ability to engage in cutting edge research and USIU-Africa has remained committed to this cause in its years of operation. Through the donation of his personal library, Prof. Zeleza has demonstrated his dedication to the enhancement of the University’s learning and research capacities,” said Dr. Mutunga.
The Prof. Zeleza academic library collection also includes his archives of personal papers and manuscripts of his voluminous publications. The collection built over the last four decades showcases an illustrious academic and administrative career. This collection will boost the current resources at the USIU-Africa Library which include 204,804 print books, 48,751 print periodicals, over 100,000 online journals, over 200,000 electronic books, 16,348 non-print media and 47 electronic databases.
A Professor of Humanities and Social Sciences, Prof. Zeleza has worked at several universities in the Caribbean, Kenya, Canada, and the United States and has held distinguished academic appointments and administrative positions. His scholarly work has crossed traditional boundaries, ranging from economic and intellectual history to human rights, gender studies and diaspora studies. He has published more than 300 journal articles, book chapters, reviews, short stories and online essays and authored or edited 27 books, several of which have won international awards. He has also worked as a consultant with various philanthropic foundations and UN agencies. His research project on the African academic diaspora conducted for the Carnegie Corporation of New York in 2011-12 led to establishing the Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program in 2013.

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