Technology in Education Consultative Meeting Opening Ceremony

The Higher Education Consultative meeting brought together various players in higher education, health, and information technology sectors of the Seventh-day Adventist Church from the East-Central Africa Division. The meeting was officially opened by the Cabinet Secretary of the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology-Kenya, Dr. Fred Matiangi, at the Adventist University of Africa. Delegates included church leaders, especially leaders of educational institutions and information technology specialists focusing on the theme “Technology in Education.”

articletechineducsmatiangicropDr. Matiangi stated that the Adventist church does not only provide mere education but is charged to provide unique quality education for life. He noted how over the last six decades, higher education had grown not only in Kenya but similar patterns have been seen across the African continent, and this growth will affect how knowledge will be imparted. He said that there is a concerted effort by the Government and international and regional bodies such as the World Bank, African Development Bank (AfDB) and many others to propagate for effective, relevant, and quality education for the labour market.

The Cabinet Secretary (CS) spoke about four major challenges facing higher education in Africa: relevance, quality, accessibility, and affordability.

He challenged the delegates to venture into designing new curricula to meet the specific and relevant needs of the continent. He said that whereas African institutions have courses on arts and humanities, there is need to invest in science, technology, and innovation so as to meet the current need of the African labour market.

While there is a noted growth in higher education in Africa, the greater question, the CS said we should ask, ourselves is whether it is growing qualitatively and/or quantitatively? He stated that research—accurate data and information—is critical to higher education and policy development and that the Kenyan Government has plans to increase the current budget from 0.5% GDP to 5% GDP for research. He spoke of the need to acquire capable faculty to guide quality research within each institution.

The CS emphasized on the need to develop creative, innovative, and aggressive ways of partnership and raising resources to finance higher education. Otherwise, dependence on private resources would take much longer for infrastructure growth and development. He challenged the leaders to develop proposals to tap into the available opportunities, grants, and funds—in World Bank, African Development Bank (AfDB) among others—to grow and drive their institutions much farther and faster.

articletechinedudrmungerpresenThe CS said that access to quality higher education in Kenya is still a challenge due to several obstacles such as a lack of policy frameworks. There was, therefore, need to capitalize on virtual technology and aggressively take advantage of technology to develop and operationalize robust, online programs. He pointed out that the Church was growing much faster than it was building the capacity of the church ministers and leaders to meet the needs of the members. He advocated for online programs—the creation of open universities—to grant opportunities for more people to study and meet the growing demands for education and capacity building.

Dr. Matiangi mentioned how technology will help leverage higher education costs as it overcomes the barriers of geography and space, hence greatly reducing education costs and thus making it more affordable.

The Cabinet Secretary underscored the fact that the future is going to be shaped by the 3Ds: data, design, and devices. He said that with the growing use of smartphones and the push for the expansion of the broadband footprint across the globe, most businesses will be driven by mobile technology. With innovations such as M-pesa, M-Cow, mHealth in Kenya, he was looking forward to M-Sermons, M-Vespers among other innovative technologies in the church.

He challenged the ECD Education Director, Dr. Andrew Mutero, and the Vice Chancellors present to have a definitive strategy of investing in ICT, to rethink how they manage their programs to increase their potential, to be open and courageous in growth and to professionalize their Christian responsibilities.

He finished by stating that there is “No nobler call, no greater duty than the responsibility to serve God and our fellow men with courage and commitment.” 

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