Delivery of Open and Distance Learning in Kenya: Demand and Quality Concerns

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Nyerere, Jackline
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Commonwealth of Learning (COL) and Open University Malaysia (OUM)
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Kenya has witnessed a rapid expansion in university education with the number of universities increasing by 320% in the last one decade to cater for high demand. The response to this expansion has been the need for more innovative educational approaches to reach the heterogeneous population with different demands. Kenya has however not taken full advantage of the of Open and Distance Learning (ODL) delivery due to a number of challenges and thus enrolments in ODL have remained low. There are quality concerns that have negatively affected demand for ODL programmes in Kenya as reflected in low enrolments. Institutions are implementing various strategies including improvement of students support services, marketing and awareness creation activities, and reduction of tuition fees. These efforts are yet to bear fruit however as the programmes are still suffering from a credibility and recognition crisis. This paper analyses issues related to standards of ODL programmes in Kenya. It focuses on national and institutional quality assurance policies for ODL programmes, modes of delivery, and perceptions on quality and credibility of ODL in the country. The paper presents data that was collected through desk research, as well as a survey questionnaire with both open and close ended questions. The study respondents were deans/directors of ODL centers/units in universities in Kenya. Common quality concerns cited by respondents regarding provision of ODL in Kenya are inadequate funding, inadequate expertise and lack of necessary ICT infrastructure that is hindering delivery of credible distance courses learning. The study recommends establishment and implementation of quality assurance policies as well as investment in appropriate infrastructure and training of staff to improve recognition and demand of ODL programmes in Kenya. // Paper ID 271
Open and Distance Learning (ODL), Quality Assurance