The Corona Virus paralyzed our lives when it dawned on us some seven months ago. In Kenya, it especially had us by our crotch in March when various measures were put in place by our various government agencies to disguise the incompetence. Free movement ceased and curfew enforced. Among those affected were learners currently involved in various institutions of learning.
Schools were closed and the education sector seemed to suffer an inconvenience that it might never recover from given the number of those affected. The Cabinet Secretary of the ministry of Education, CS George Magoha in his press release shortly after the president’s address lifting the lockdown inferred that overalls, there are about two and a half million learners from primary to teritary learning institutions were affected, this is inclusive of private institutions.
In an attempt to salvage the fate of learners whose hopes were on the peripheri as it were, the government through its education ministry undertook to assess modalities of remote online learning and examination. Most private schools and higher learning institutions were already ahead as Jalaram Academy, the Aga khan Education Service and Oshwal group of schools had launched theirs in the weeks following the closure of schools. Higher learning institutions such as Riara University and the Aga khan university were also not left behind.
The Mount Kenya University (MKU) in March, 2020 subsequently announced a partnership with Safaricom and Zoom to enable students to continue their learning which steps were applauded by the government which was already grappling with the notion having to repeat their classes including finalists in class 8, form four and those in their final year in colleges and universities.
The University of Nairobi (UON) students were especially concerned considering most of them have had to postpone their graduations due to missing marks and a less than average management. UoN perhaps out of concern for the students successfully launched its online learning platform last month and some of its students already undertook it’s exams.
The MKU platform however suffered some unprecedented inconveniences and has yet to take off. The system allegedly integrated zoom within the school’s website uniquely registered to students registration numbers. Other additional features included secure tabs for browsers where the students online activity were to be closely monitored during examinations. This restored hope among the MKU students who came out in large numbers to register for classes and examination, only to be unapologetically disappointed.
Even after obtaining government subsidy upon request to enable and facilitate the learning and examination process. The deal between Safaricom and MKU was brokered by the Kenyan Government through its ministry of education and afforded students daily unlimited data bundle worth Ksh. 50/- to be used only to access the MKU online learning platform. The government also negotiated with zoom to enable the UoN and MKU websites securely accessible through the instructions’ websites through hyperlinks.
After such investment in the projects and spending of taxpayers money to facilitate a private institution’s affairs, the same is yet to be delivered. Bearing in mind that these were pilot projects that would be replicated to other institutions upon their success. Now it is becoming apparent that the online learning and examination resource was a scam, and an elaborate one at that. The conception did not have the students in mind but rather it was designed to line people’s pockets.
Students that registered were required to have fully settled their semester fees before being allowed to sit the alleged exams. Albeit not attending a single class, the school fees were not otherwise adjusted and the students paid out of desperation. When the examinations started, the platform “malfunctioned” and did not allow the curious students to sit the exams while that of the University of Nairobi functioned as planned. This is not the first time MKU is on the media for ulterior reasons.
Last year in May, the Kenya School of Law and a Kenyatta University school of Law questioned the circumstances leading up to the full accreditation of MKU by the Council of Legal Education to offer legal studies considering MKU barely meets the threshold and standards set for accreditation. A senior advocate Mr. Ahmednasir Abdullahi also criticized students from MKU and said that his firm was nolonger open to students from MKU for pupilage.
It now seems like the MKU online platform was a scheme to ensure that fees were paid by the learners and the institution’s accounts well credited. The students were duped into unsupervised classes and cannot claim a refund as a result. From the look of things, they will have to sit and wait like the rest to sit their exams at such a time when it is convenient.
Given the circumstances, it is likely that the Auditor General will recommend to the Director of Puplic Prosecutions (DPP) the arrest and prosecution of the Mount Kenya University Vice Chancellor Prof Stanley Waudo but this is Kenya you know.
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