Commission for University Education Hosts SPHEIR Team
Many universities are finding it harder to recruit and retain staff with doctorate qualification. In view of that, Universities have been challenged to embrace the use of technology to deliver academic programmes. This would ensure that universities utilize the scarce academic resources that include staff, and ensure that access to university education is guaranteed. It is in this context that the British Government the through DFID initiated the Strategic Partnerships for Higher Education Innovation and Reform (SPHEIR) to address some of these challenges in Higher Education (HE) sector. Consequently, the Commission for University Education (CUE), whose mandate includes expanding access and equity in university education, has continually forged strategic public-private partnerships to create sustainable academic learning atmosphere. The Commission has been working with global partners, taking into cognizance the importance of linkages and collaborations in the achievement of the set strategic objectives. In a meeting held on 28thNovember between CUE and British Council team at the commission’s main offices, the Council gave updates on the projects currently being implemented in the higher education sector with support from United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID). DFID is a United Kingdom government department responsible for administering overseas aid. The goal of the department is to promote sustainable development and eliminate world poverty. CUE being a key partner in one of its projects called Partnership for Enhanced and Blended Learning (PEBL), the British Council team was interested in hearing about the progress and whether there were any systemic challenges in its implementation. PEBL is helping universities across East Africa share valuable teaching resources through the development of quality assured, credit-bearing courses delivered through blended learning. The team, which comprised Susanna Carmody, Senior Programme Manager, Strategic Partnerships for Higher Education Innovation and Reform (SPHEIR) and Pauline Gangla, Partnership manager SPHEIR were also keen to get feedback from some of the partners who interact with the Commission from time to time on the said project. According to Prof. Jackson Too, the Head of Research Department, CUE, PEBL project continues to play crucial role in enhancing teaching quality and student outcomes, and helps to address the growing shortage of academic staff faced by universities. Prof. Too spoke on behalf of Commission Secretary/CEO Prof. Mwenda Ntarangwi. In attendance were also Mr. Joseph Musyoki, Senior Assistant Commission Secretary/Head of Institutional Accreditation Department and Reynold Njue, planning officer. Mr. Musyoki underscored the importance of reviewing the delivery mode of teaching in online and distance learning. “Even as CUE is going on with revision and validation of the Universities and Standards Regulations (2019), it is also important to look at these areas of e-learning. Students, parents and sponsors should get value for their money,” Mr. Musyoki said.