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Lower Internet Costs To Enhance E-learning In Our Varsities – Gicharu.

Mount Kenya University founder Dr. Simon Gicharu has called for increased investment in digital education as a means to tackle the challenge of lack of enough physical space for students transiting from secondary schools to our Kenyan universities.

In an exclusive interview, Gicharu said that it was high time Kenya re-thought its educational strategy to cater for the thousands of students who met the minimum university entry grade each year but were still left behind for lack of vacancies.

He said that expansion of the existing education infrastructure called for building of more classrooms, hostels, living quarters, and hiring of more lecturers as well as provision of other vital services and materials which may not be applicable in a short term basis. 

It was for this reason that he suggested the advancement of technology and more innovative ways to expand available spaces for education at the institutions of higher learning. In this way, the need for physical facilities and the huge outlay of capital required to set up such infrastructure will be reduced significantly.

Thousands of students have graduated by undertaking their programmes online and thousands more are pursuing their studies. A Kenyan student does not have to go to the US, for instance, to study in one of its top universities. All you need is a reliable, fast and affordable internet connectivity,” he said. 

However, for virtual education to thrive, Gicharu noted that there were some fundamental conditions that had to be met that included among other things, affordable internet connection. African countries, Kenya included, still paid heavily to access the internet making e-learning an expensive affair.

He therefore called on all the relevant players to discuss how to bring down the internet charges with a view to lowering the cost of education.

He added that Kenya particularly, had a huge opportunity to be a regional leader in e-learning since it enjoyed relatively cheaper internet access in East Africa. The fiber-optic cable has terminated the use of the expensive satellite services.

He said that Kenya Education Network, which provides bandwidth services to universities, needed to be revamped in order to play its role more effectively.

“Widespread access of the internet enhances education acquisition. However, there is still need to find innovative ways to lower these costs,” he concluded. 

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