Nexford University, a US-based online institution, has announced plans to expand its distance learning courses to Kenya.
The move comes as a result of a growing number of students from African countries such as Nigeria, Egypt, and South Africa enrolling in the university.
Nexford has already partnered with the Federation of Kenya Employers to analyze the country’s skill shortages and is looking to work with local universities to enhance its delivery of existing online offerings.
“We are excited to help address local and global talent shortages
by enabling Kenyan youth to build the skills they need to qualify for both
local and remote jobs,” said Nexford’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Fadl Al Tarzi.
The CEO added that Kenya’s economy has the potential to leapfrog development due to a strong primary education system, robust technology infrastructure, and a government committed to digital transformation.
Nexford’s goal is to establish online partnerships with employers and address the capacity shortage in higher education in partnership with local organizations.
“We are exploring collaboration with local universities to add to our delivery of existing online offerings,” said Mr Al Tarzi.
These local universities include Zetech University and Riara University.
Kenya’s current market context has made online education a more attractive option for students, as the demand for higher education is beginning to outstrip the number of places available in both public and private universities.
The country is also bracing for an increase in university fees and a limit on public funding for top-graded students. This could push some students towards online options, as 40% of those with a grade of C+ or above will not be eligible for any public funding, according to Nexford.
Laila Macharia, a lawyer and non-executive director of ABSA bank, has been recruited by Nexford as its senior advisor for East Africa.
She spoke about “raising awareness” of the opportunities for Africans to “prepare for the future of work and access the global grid of remote employment” at a career readiness event in Nairobi.
Ms Macharia believes that the many benefits of online education offered by platforms such as Nexford will help shift the focus from a “brain drain” to amassing “brain capital.”
Nexford’s online platform offers US-accredited university degrees
across the world.
The university recently hosted an online learning and career readiness conference in Nairobi to introduce its expansion plans to prospective students and to bring together government, employment, and education stakeholders.