On 25 April, the International Institute of Online Education (IIOE) Kenya National Centre launch ceremony was successfully held. The launch was jointly organised by UNESCO-ICHEI, UNESCO Priority Africa and External Relations Sector, UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa (Nairobi), the Kenyan Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and the University of Nairobi (UoN). On the occasion of the launch ceremony, the “Smart Classroom” at the University of Nairobi was also unveiled. Vice-Chancellors and Deputy Vice-Chancellors from over 20 higher education institutions (HEIs) in Kenya and representatives from governmental agencies, enterprises, international organisations have participated in the IIOE Kenya National Centre Launch Ceremony and listened to the implementation framework and work plan of IIOE Kenya National Centre.

IIOE Kenya National Centre is jointly established by UNESCO-ICHEI and Kenya, hosted at the University of Nairobi. It will serve as a national and regional hub and create a supportive local higher education ecosystem contributing to realising Kenya’s national development strategies. It will also empower Kenyan HEIs’ digital transformation through research, capacity building, online course construction and sharing, technical support and networking.

Mr. Jerome Ochieng, Principal Secretary for information and communication technology (ICT) & Innovation, Kenyan Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs, said that the IIOE Kenya National Centre aligns well with Kenya’s national digital masterplan. He is proud of the various teams that enabled the launch of IIOE Kenya National Centre, which will serve and change the lives and outlook for future generations to come. 

Prof. LI Ming, Director of the International Centre for Higher Education Innovation under the auspices of UNESCO (UNESCO-ICHEI), highlighted the important role of UoN as the IIOE’s rotating presidency unit for 2022, and hoped that UoN could play a leading role in engaging more Kenyan HEIs to join IIOE network. He emphasised that UNESCO-ICHEI is committed to providing customized support for the IIOE Kenya National Centre and the higher education community in Kenya. 

Prof. Stephen Kiama, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Nairobi; Board Member of the Global MOOC and Online Education Alliance, said that the two key initiatives, IIOE Kenya National Centre and Smart Classroom at UoN, have been achieved through a mutually beneficial and sustainable partnership between UoN and UNESCO-ICHEI. As the IIOE rotating presidency unit for 2022, UoN is ready to take up the role as a national hub of IIOE and welcomes more Kenyan HEIs to join IIOE. 

Prof. Hubert Gijzen, UNESCO Regional Director for Eastern Africa and Representative to Kenya congratulated the launch of the IIOE Kenya National Centre. He mentioned that the IIOE National Centre initiative is highly aligned with the strategy of UNESCO Eastern Africa office. He also looks forward to working together with UNESCO-ICHEI to expand the IIOE network to more African countries to support higher education digital transformation.

Dr. Vijoo Rattansi, Chancellor of the University of Nairobi reviewed the history of collaboration among UoN, UNESCO-ICHEI, and Createview Co. Ltd since 2018. She emphasised that HEIs in Kenya must devote more attention to the development of collaborations and partnerships with external stakeholders and to embrace digital transformation. She appreciated all stakeholders’ efforts dedicated to establishing the IIOE Kenya National Centre, and hoped that it could build a supportive ecosystem for HEIs in the country.

Initiated in 2018, the Smart Classroom was implemented thanks to the partnership between UNESCO-ICHEI, Southern University of Science and Technology, and University of Nairobi, sponsored by Guangzhou CreateView Education Technology Co.,Ltd. As a digital learning environment equipped with cutting-edge ICT hardware and software, the Smart Classroom enables online and blended learning as well as innovative teaching practices. The Smart Classroom will support the IIOE Kenya National Centre to promote educational resource sharing and capacity building among IIOE Kenyan partner HEIs. 

Mr. ZHANG Yu, Board Chair, Guangzhou Createview Education Technology Co., Ltd., and Mr. XIAN Weijian, President of Kenya Guangdong Chamber of Commerce also congratulated the launch of IIOE Kenya National Centre and Smart Classroom, and wished to continue working with Kenya and UoN in the future to support the country’s higher education and Sino-Kenyan friendship.

In 2022, UNESCO-ICHEI and IIOE Kenya National Centre will implement a series of activities, including research, training, platform upgrading, etc. IIOE Kenya National Centre will join forces with UNESCO-ICHEI to conduct research on digital transformation in higher education and to apply and localise the research outcomes. IIOE Platform 2.0 will be officially launched in October to support all 6 UN official languages and dedicated IIOE Kenya National Centre page. UNESCO-ICHEI will organise 16 training programmes, 15 webinars and conferences, in the fields of Cloud Computing, Block Chain, Education Policy, Teacher Professional Development, to support the capacity building of HEIs in Kenya.

This first appeared on https://en.ichei.org/dist/index.html#/FocusNewsDetail?id=1188

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