The Kenyan Ministry of Education is taking action to make higher education more inclusive by launching the National Open University.
Education Cabinet Secretary, Ezekiel Machogu, has begun a consultative process in readiness for the establishment of the institution – an initiative that aligns with President William Ruto’s education reform agenda.
“Globally, countries have adopted Open Learning which makes education more affordable, accessible, and attainable to all students, no matter their location or income level,” Machogu said.
This innovative approach to higher education allows for minimal or no entry requirements, and employs flexible teaching methods such as open-supported learning or distance education.
At the signing of the Kenya Kwanza Education Charter in June 2022, President Ruto made a commitment to prioritise the establishment of the National Open University in his first 100 days in office, recommending a framework on Open, Distance and E-line learning (ODEL).
In the past, Ruto had already suggested an amendment to the Universities Act of 2012 that would enable the transfer of management of universities.
The initiative included plans to recruit personnel from the public service sector and enacting legislative, policy, and budgetary measures to alleviate the current financial challenges facing public universities.
The proposal was not implemented at that time. But now, as President, Ruto is once again pushing for the operationalisation of this change through the National Open University.
The Kenya Kwanza Charter also sets out to establish a public university in every county, with a focus on each institution’s unique strengths and training programmes.