My Online African Dream

I believe in The African Dream.

If you ask me exactly what it is- the African Dream- honestly I wouldn’t tell what it is. I cannot pin point to you all the elements that make it all up. Pit me against an American Layman advocating for the American Dream and I will be dry… speechless and wordless- forget that I am a lawyer.

But if you ask me what I see when I close my eyes to dream; it would be a mouthful. I would tell you that it is the last thing I think about when I close my eyes to sleep. I would add that it is the first thing that crosses my mind when I wake up. It is that thing that keeps me in bed and makes me hold my bowels in the middle of the night since I don’t want to go to the washroom in the fear that the dream would get lost, or that the dream would be distorted. So dear do I hold that dream that I would trade my favorite TV series, Shark Tank, just to get a few more minutes to dream it. Such is the nature of my commitment to the dream.

Now therefore, with us is Kabarak University Online (KABUO). Finally we have the platform where we could to it all online, regardless of time and space. Then it begs the question; what exactly my African Dream has to do with KABUO, right?

See, KABUOgives us endless opportunities. Bill Gates, in developing Microsoft once remarked, “This is software… everything is possible!” That was ages ago. Back then the concept of software- that we could actually rely and trade on abstracts that we can’t even touch- was the gospel of the hyena selling its milk to the cow. Decades down now, imagine what we could do with that platform online. Imagine that we can and will do our studies online. Picture this: that those things we wowed about when we saw in movies are now a reality on our fingers- literally.

Remember those days when we would watch in movies wazungu kids studying online and we would just wonder. I took them for geniuses and very honest people that they could do that. I didn’t see how it is feasible that a boy, now the man I am growing to be, could ever do that. Simply put, there was a time when that was a reserve to the elites.

But now the opportunity is here. It is here for grabs. You know what’s more; it is here for us all.

The African Dream then will be realized by us all if we ceased this chance and made good out of it. This opportunity of our studies, and basically almost everything online, puts us on the global map. It enables us to compete on a level scale with the entire world. But then it won’t be a new big blow to the western and eastern world since they developed this technology, so therefore we cannot rely on the element of surprise. However, history reminds me that as Africans, backward as we may seem to be, we have been endowed with special gifts and talents like no other race on the face of earth. Given this technology and same opportunities as all other peoples, I bet my pen that we will emerge the first!

This then means that since we all have this technology, what will put us on an advantage is if we embraced it, and made it our own; part of us. See, if we embrace this concept now as it is still young and green amid the minds of many- including the creators in the west- then we will be a long way to getting there. But not just getting there, but getting there first.

It has been remarked by Africa’s greats, the likes of Nelson Mandela and Daniel Toroitich Arap Moi that the key to Africa’s future continues to be education, especially the key out of the pit of poverty. And those are not my words… but my words are that this then is Education Re-defined. With KABUO, and what we envision as education in the years to come, embracing it will be one of the best decisions we will ever make in our lives. But in addition to that, we must not accept it on a personal level… no, we must accept it as an African People.

If this formula is sure to work on a personal scale, then how great will it be if we employed it on a continental scale? I mean, if two join to form one more, then how much more will be formed if tens of millions paired up to all form one more each?

The analogy is simple for my African Dream. It is that success for one may be reflected and stretched as success to all in our house.

Back in Kakuma Refugee Camp where I run a legal aid and awareness program, I have a friend who is a very old grandmother of Somali descent, call her Mama Maimuna. Many times I would sit with her and she would tell me stories of a better Somalia for a better Africa. Had I been sitting on that small stool chair in her kitchen and told her what I say here, she would look at me in the eye the whole time. She would then ask me to think of the future as an African and where it will find us. Only, in her native Somali language she would remark, “Waxa laagare waxti oo laga fikiro aytinki danbe, Frank.”

By, Frank Cheluget

Education 4 Life

We are currently facing two global challenges:

  • Three billion people today are under 25 and approximately 160 Million of the unemployed worldwide are young people.
  • Globally, tertiary education is not producing the kinds of graduates with the skills, attitudes and competencies that employers are looking for.

This indicates that access to tertiary education needs to improve and universities and colleges need to equip graduates with the 21st century skills needed for the workplace of today and the future. These skills are critical thinking, negotiation, leadership, strategic thinking, conflict management, negotiation, decision making, digital literacy and knowledge management. Research indicates that graduate unemployment in Africa remains acute and in Kenya for example, it takes a university graduate an average of 5 years to get a job

So what is the role of tertiary education in addressing this conundrum?

Under the Millennium Development Goals, focus has been on primary education but there is a noticeable shift in attention globally towards secondary and tertiary education. In sub Saharan Africa, enrollment rates in higher education are booming, but are still substantially lower than rates globally (29% worldwide, 7% for SSA and only 4% for Kenya!) This means that there is enormous scope to expand, and that the demand for tertiary education will continue to grow.

So what does this mean for Kabarak University?

We need to be in the forefront in bridging the divide between the university, society and the world of work. Research undertaken across 6 universities in the UK found a positive effect on both education and employment outcomes when there was employer engagement in course design, and when this was linked to work placements and other forms of in-training and post-training experience.

In Africa, reform of the curriculum features as critical, including updating modes of delivery and the professional expertise of teachers, tutors and lecturers. Poor infrastructure, inadequate facilities and poor staff student rations are also mentioned.

Knowledge Economy

In an increasingly interconnected and interdependent world, young people need more than preparation for the workplace through acquiring technical and vocational skills. There is also need for a critical focus on 21st century skills to enable them engage analytically, critically and constructively in society as global citizens.

However, there is no quick fix solution. Education system reform including active linkages with labor markets is a good start. Inculcating entrepreneurial skills in young people will spur the innovations that are needed to move graduates from job seekers to job creators.

 

Adapted from article on DN, 9/10/14 by Dr Jo Beall, Director, Education and society, British Council.

 

 

 

Welcome message from the Vice Chancellor Rev. Prof. Jones Kaleli

Kabarak University Vice Chancellor Rev. Prof. Jones Kaleli

The private and professional lives of citizens have gone digital: we live, work, and play in cyberspace. Citizens use the Internet, computers, cell phones and mobile devices every day to communicate with family, friends and colleagues. We do business online every day, from banking to shopping to accessing Government services – from anywhere. Digital infrastructure makes all these possible by enabling access to services 24 X 7.

Citizens, industry and Governments do appreciate the many advantages that cyberspace offers our economy and improved quality of life. However, the scale of adoption is still far below the expected minimum threshold required to catapult this region into the knowledge age. Far too many citizens still lack access to basic education and opportunities for self-advancement resulting from access to educational resources. As a region, we will only be able to effectively tap into the many advantages offered by the knowledge age by having a critical pool of knowledge workers; individuals, capable of learning continuously, familiar with techniques of accessing, processing information and who also possess excellent communication skills.

Kabarak University Online (KABUO) is our plan for meeting the challenge of developing this pool of knowledge workers in the African region and beyond. It delivers on the decision of the Governing Council which mandated the University to acquire and operationalize a Learning and content management system.

KABUO is a cornerstone of our commitment to ensure that our collective workforce is equipped with knowledge age tools in a Biblical Perspective that will drive the well being of our countries and citizens to even greater heights.

I therefore challenge the Kabarak community: To be an educational leader in a Biblical perspective, we must re-invent ourselves and adopt online learning. We must defy the status quo. There is no passion to be found playing small, in settling for less than we are capable of achieving – and I know that as a university, we are capable of achieving so much more. Nelson Mandela aptly put it “To deny people their human rights, is to challenge their very humanity” and today I dare say “To deny learners their technological rights, is to threaten their deep and life-long learning”.

With this blog, we have opened a virtual door and window to let in your thoughts, views and suggestions on how we can catapult Kabarak University into the digital age. I look forward to your active contributions and participation in this endeavor. So, let’s go Kabarak let’s go! Let us move with technology and make our presence valuable through online learning..

E-Graduation

As I walked home today back from school, I had this crazy thought. You know those thoughts that you think while all alone and you find yourself laughing at yourself? Or if you don’t walk home, those random thoughts that cross your mind as you drive home with music in your car.

I thought, now the e-learning stuff… will there be an e-graduation?

Think about it. I have had my entire studies online. The only times I have ever come to Kabarak- the place- is when I have really had to. Now I am an alumni on the making.

Will I then clear online through a process called e-clearing? Will I ask for a refund of my caution money through e-caution money claiming? Oh, or will I do my semester billing through e-billing? Here is another, if I get suspended, will I do an e-trial with the management as is the case? And will I go for an e-suspension? Say I do, my account is disabled for the two semesters, right? Can I then register for another program and continue during the time- a short course perhaps?

Most interestingly, as I graduate, after going and growing through all these clutters, do I have to come back to Kabarak or will there be an E-Graduation? I mean, I wouldn’t want my first time to come to Kabarak, considering I live in the Hamptons, be on my graduation to receive my First Class Degree Honors!

With the rolling out of this program, so many e-issues are raised. Soon, I see a wealth of vocabularies on e-words. I see students writing their dissertations on the Blackboard in Kabarak. I see a law student write an article of the legal regime of the program in Kabarak Law.

On the other hand, I see a response to this brief article just to tell me that no such thing as an e-graduation will be there.

From where I come from, we have this old saying. It goes, ‘First we try; and then we trust.’ This just happens to be one of those moments that we try this whole new world. Then we trust. I trust.

By. Frank Cheluget