Gov’t moves to adopt EU education standards in universities


Gov’t moves to adopt EU education standards in universities

 The government will sign a declaration of intention for the establishment of the German – East African University of Applied Sciences on the 20th of January, 2017.

This follows a series of meetings that began seven months ago when President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration agreed on a partnership with the German Government for an industry-driven education system.

“We have completed foundational and institutional frameworks for the establishment of the German -East African University of Applied Sciences and what is left is signing the declaration and creating the necessary infrastructure in the next four weeks,” said Education Cabinet Secretary Dr Fred Matiang’i after a meeting with Germany’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Frank Walter Steinmeir in Berlin, Germany.

Dr Matiang’i noted that already some German firms, which intend to participate in training students who will undergo the German model of education dubbed “Dual Education System”, have set shop in the country. These include Volkswagen and B.Braun, a medical and pharmaceutical equipment company, among others.

“The time has come for the transformation of the education sector. We must train people who will find employment. Our tragedy is the huge number of youths with no skills for African development. We need to train them in a manner that is responsive to our development and the needs of our environment”.

The German – East African University of Applied Sciences will train undergraduates from East Africa who will take courses, which will be designed by the industries in collaboration with the ministries of education and industrialization and the German partners.

Matiang’i said the training of skilled workers would cure the problem of a failed university system where many people have degrees yet there are sectors that have no workforce.

“We need a deliberate shift towards quality, relevant education that is responsive to our development needs. Otherwise soon we will start importing welders and basic skilled workers for the Standard Guage Railway and Tullow Oil projects”, he noted.

The success of the programme would require that the government work closely with the private sector to establish policy and get the plan going to develop skills for the millions of youths in East Africa.

“We want to replicate the German model, see what is needed by our industry and come up with relevant courses. The university must meet standards and conditions set by the European Union so that graduates can be employed in the EU,” said Dr Matiang’i.

The modalities on whether the university will be a stand-alone or be integrated into existing universities are still being discussed, with a team from Germany already in the country to study the systems and make recommendations.

“We have a crisis in our universities”.

The madness we see in our basic education has gone all the way to universities and we have to approach reform by inflicting maximum pain. It will be painful but necessary. There are universities we will close down. We will be radical and will cancel some charters”, concluded Dr Matiang’i.

The adoption of the German model in university education seeks to prepare the country to start producing global graduates.

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Story By Faiza Wanjiru
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