Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility KENYATTA UNIVERSITY WINS AN ERASMUS+CBHE GRANT: NEW SKILLS, NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR MIGRANTS IN KENYA & SOMALIA

KENYATTA UNIVERSITY WINS AN ERASMUS+CBHE GRANT: NEW SKILLS, NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR MIGRANTS IN KENYA & SOMALIA

 

Kenyatta University has won a multi-country grant of 719,939 Euro from the European Union. A consortium of 6 partners from four countries, namely, Kenya, Somalia, Turkey and Poland has received a multi-country, cross regional Grant through the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) (Erasmus+EDU-2023-CBHE STRAND 2 - Capacity Building in Higher Education). This multi-faceted, multi-country Grant Proposal development was coordinated by Kenyatta University’s Department of Educational Communication & Technology, School of Education & Lifelong Learning, through the leadership of Dr. Adelheid Marie Bwire as the Project Coordinator. Other faculty are Dr. Marguerite K. Miheso- O’Connor and Dr. Francis Mwangi (Ed. Comtech), Dr. Beatrice Bunyasi (Early Childhood and Special Needs - School of Education), Dr. Priscilla Ndegwa (Business Administration - School of Business, Economics and Tourism) and Dr. Mildred Nawiri, Chemistry - School of Pure and Applied Sciences)

The initial team that conceptualized the IIDEMIC Project. (Photo, Courtesy Comtech Department)

 

About the Project

The Project, dubbed INCLUSIVE AND INNOVATIVE DIGITAL EDUCATION FOR MIGRANT COMMUNITY IN KENYA AND SOMALIA (IIDEMIC) seeks to promote use of soft skills to enhance employability; enhance interaction using inclusive and innovative digital tools and promote teacher practice in classrooms to reflect integration of 21st century skills. This is in tandem with the global drive to enhance software and capacity building on technical skills necessary to achieve SDGs (UNESCO, 2014). The SDGs are a universal call to action to end poverty and ensure that by 2030 all people enjoy peace and prosperity and that development must balance social, economic and environmental sustainability. Quality teacher education programmes should be responsive to global standards like 21st century skills in education and Agenda 2063. The Project will draw on the expertise of the Kenya Institute of Special Education and Kenyatta University Directorate of Disabilities which have the capacity and expertise to provide guidance on creation and implementation of resource centres to take care of migrants and refugees with special needs and disabilities.

With around 4 million refugees, Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the main regions hosting the largest number of refugees in the World. Recognizing the need to design long-term approaches that reinforce the resilience of refugees, Kenyatta University and EU partners have designed an intervention plan that grants access to education and the labour market. This is very important to enhance refugee self-reliance, in which development is very critical under the UN Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan.

According to UNHCR (2022), Kenya hosts some of the largest numbers of refugees in Africa.  Most of these refugees and asylum seekers originate from Somalia (53%) and mainly live in the Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps. Due to conflicts and climate hazards such as droughts, Somalia has one of the highest numbers of displacement globally. There are estimated internally displaced persons (IDPs) of about 2.9 million across the country.

The challenges in accessing the labour market include low employability (due to low levels of education and technical skills), recognition problems of previously gained skills, limited language skills, restrained access to information and services (mainly due to the language barrier). Based on this background information, the Project IIDEMIC will be focused on developing the skills of young migrant in-service teachers in order to encourage them to strengthen their teaching and other work-related skills, carry out their own businesses or to increase their potential of employability. Inclusive education as a pillar in the sustainable goals will also be emphasised to cater for those living with various disabilities among the refugee population. Africa’s (CESA16-25)’s mission is to reorient Africa’s education and training systems to meet the knowledge, competencies, skills, innovation and creativity required to promote sustainable development at the national, sub-regional and continental levels.

A needs assessment was carried out in January 2023 to to analyse the various forms of diversity that existed in schools and their environment and the level of inclusivity of diverse learners in the refugee schools in Dadaab and Kakuma camps and Kalobeyei settlement scheme in Kenya and IDPs schools in Mogadishu and Bosaso in Somalia; the challenges the teachers face, the level of skills and ability to manage and include the diverse learners, and how it affects quality of education. In this assessment issues related to forms of disability, availability of assistive devices, teacher’s preparedness, digital and soft skills assessments were examined. Among the factors found to contribute to low employability and limited access to information and services among migrant populations were qualification and training of the teachers where the majority need competence in special needs education, implying that the schools lacked teachers to handle learners with special needs. Inclusivity in Refugee and IDPs Education was also found to be problematic as the analysis showed that the majority of teachers were not trained in special needs and therefore could hardly identify students with diverse learning needs in order to offer support/early intervention. There was limited teacher preparedness in inclusive education and lack of innovative digital and soft skills. The majority of teachers and head teachers reported that they needed upgrading in management of diversity in learning-cultures, adult learners, disability, Psychosocial support skills, Conflict management,  Health education, Assessment of competence-based curriculum in the context of emergency, Entrepreneurial skills. Other additional areas of training participants thought were important for teachers dealing with migrant learners were: basic counselling skills, life skills, mentorship and coaching in career choice, self-awareness programmes, integrated learning approach. Hence, the modules to be developed by IIDEMIC will focus on most of these areas.

Among the objectives of the project are:

  • To create a lifelong learning platform that is accessible to the refugee and migrant population that will be used to build requisite capacities aimed at increasing employability opportunities in Kenya and Somalia.
  • Develop an accessible data centre with adaptive features to cater for different kinds of disabilities and to assist refugees and migrants with special needs and disabilities access vital information.
  • Develop an Inclusive Education programme, with appropriate equipment aimed at developing teachers’ skills in inclusive pedagogy.
  • Strengthen soft skill competencies among Somali refugees in Kenya and IDPs in Somalia to improve their entrepreneurial innovation and uptake of opportunities afforded through technology.
  • Promote teacher practice and use of assistive technologies for refugees and migrants
  • Integrate 21st century soft skills in supporting ALL beneficiaries
  • Harness the capacity of ICT to improve access, quality, and management of education and training systems among Somali migrants.

Use of soft skills to enhance employability is in tandem with the global drive of enhancement of technological equipment, software and capacity building on technical skills that is necessary to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (UNESCO, 2014). In addition, quality teacher education programmes should subscribe and be responsive to international standards such as 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, 21st century skills in education, Agenda 2063, and Vision 2030 for Kenya.

In its pursuit for inclusiveness and service to humanity, the Project will also leverage on KU’s Centre for Refugee Studies and Empowerment which is intended to implement and coordinate educational projects for refugees and host communities. This Centre’s mission is to empower refugees, host communities and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) through tertiary education, research and partnerships in refugee camps in Kakuma and Dadaab. Further, IIDEMIC will support the KU Dadaab campus, where refugee students take studies through digital programmes and access academic facilities by providing academic, professional and technical support. Therefore, IIDEMIC will focus on inclusive education for migrants and refugees, leveraging on digital space. The project will use the methodological approach of soft and employability skills as in the above figures. This aligns with an outcomes-harvesting strategy to provide a national policy analysis of the capacity building approach for skills based learning. This will be done through soft skills competency modules in Kenya and Somalia Universities.

The methodology is supported by three pillars:

  • The development of an analytical framework/soft skills competency development.
  • The second stage consists of co-creation of a blended system for domiciling the soft skills competency modules for use by the Somali Refugees and IDPs,
  • The third and final stage is about management, reports and recommendations to practitioners and policy makers.

The model outlines the interrelationship between soft skill and employability by sharing a number of competencies with the two frameworks so as to help learners identify and decide on the specific steps to take to boost their soft skill competence at the stage they are currently at.

The project will develop multi-disciplinary inclusive education modules to develop teachers’/trainers’ skills in inclusive pedagogy in order to enhance/increase employability. IIDEMIC therefore, seeks to strengthen soft skill competencies among Somali refugees in Kenya and Somalia envisioning that it will improve their entrepreneurial innovation and ability to embrace technology; critical in building their future skills and competencies.

 

Dwelling Shelters at Dadaab Refugee Camp

 

Mothers and their children at Dadaab Refugee Camp

 The training modules will be developed based on various areas focused on the 21st century graduate, namely: 1. Contemporary Instructional Methods for Teaching Adult Learners, 2. Adaptive Instructional Resources; 3. Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages; 4. Entrepreneurship; 5. Digital and Assistive Technology Learning Tools; 6. Inclusive Education for Migrants & Refugees; 7. Basic Health Education; 8. Maternal and Child Health & Promotion; 9. Guidance & Counselling - Reintegration; 10. Cultural Diversity, Democracy & Translanguaging.

All the Project Partners will synergistically play a key role in the project. Kenyatta University is the coordinating institution and will be in charge of curriculum development (Curriculum Development of Innovative Teaching Courses and Training Modules) and management of the project. Kutahya Dumlupinar University, Turkey, will run the kickoff meeting and all the Project Initial Activities, WSB University in Poznan, Poland will develop State-of-the-art Learning environment that will host the Learning modules and will Design and Development of Virtual e-Learning Platform and Project Advanced Teaching Plan (in-service teachers). The Red Sea University, Somalia will be in charge of piloting and implementation of the innovative teaching courses. Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology will carry out the Project Quality Control & Monitoring, while Mogadishu University will do the communication, dissemination and exploitation of the project process and results. The MoE will be part of the Advisory Board. The Ministry of Education, State Department for Higher Education, in collaboration with the State Department for Immigration and Refugee Services will play an advisory role to the project and facilitate the necessary links to the Refugee camps between government (MoE), researchers, Non-governmental organisations working in emergencies and the host community. They will promote strategic international collaborations and linkages among EU Partners and support the IIDEMIC Project teams in Programme implementation for example, support application for research permits from NACOSTI for carrying out research and development surveys. The MoE will provide advisory services in the development of policy briefs and support in linking IIDEMIC with UNHCR, the UN body with the mandate over the refugee camps.

The Beneficiaries of the IIDEMIC Project will be HEIs academic and technical staff, in-service teachers and ongoing professional trainees in areas that cover the project issues and mothers and children. One of the short-term effects will be to enhance the quality and content delivery to the participants and personal enrolment into the courses/modules by the participants. The long-term effect from this project will be the creation of more competent and skilled graduates and professional experts through innovative and inclusive training and exposure to comprehensive modules. A unique aspect to the IIDEMIC Project is the focus on people living with disability and those generally marginalized. The Kenyan and Somali HEIs` teaching staff will be professional trainers in the field, showing the way to other Kenyan and Somali HEIs` staff to adopt the programme or its elements at their HEIs.  After the project completion, the developed programme will be introduced in the Education system at targeted Kenyan and Somali HEIs on a continuous basis.

The project outcomes will be measured through indicators such as: baseline document; a full-fledged and functional digital programme;    immigrant community enrolment into the programme; stakeholder institutions, partner and community agreements available online content; skilled immigrants, digital support equipment and facilities; a curriculum document; E-learning functional platform -innovative course content /modules; Project management, quality control and monitoring framework and dissemination and exploitation strategy plans and exploitation strategy and sustainability plan

With this project, IIDEMIC will support by contributing academically to the ongoing activities for refugees in the international arena. In addition, with this project, higher education institutions will potentially become stronger partners in new collaborations and joint studies by increasing their competencies in the fields of academic and human resources. Collaboration opportunities such as seminars, meetings and joint activities to be organized within the scope of the project will improve the joint working capabilities of universities for refugees. Supports such as leading the organizations that will operate in this field, providing resources and creating content are planned by giving a more comprehensive educational and innovative perspective to the ongoing facilities of the State Department of Immigration and Citizen Services, Department of Refugee Services, Kenya, the United Nations and NGOs for refugees such as UNHCR, Windle and Lutheran World Federation.

The Grant Agreement was signed between Kenyatta University and the European Union while the Partnership agreement was signed bilaterally between Kenyatta University and each of the 6 partners, namely: Masinde Muliro University – Kenya; Mogadishu University – Somalia; Red Sea University – Somalia; Uniwersytet WSB Merito W Poznaniu (WSB) – Poland; Kutahya Dumlupinar Universitesi (DPU) – Turkey. The Ministry of Education, State Department for Higher Education, is an Affiliate Partner.

About the Author:

Adelheid Marie Bwire, a Senior Lecturer, is the immediate former Head of the Department of Educational Communication & Technology, School of Education. She holds a PhD in Educational Communication and Technology (Language and Literature Education). She teaches Instructional Design and Technology, Educational Technology, English Language and Literature Education and Research Methods. She is also a National Trainer for the National Teacher Professional Development Programme which is organised by the Teachers Service Commission and facilitated by Kenyatta University. She has also worked as a Curriculum Development Consultant and has been an Examinations Coordinator for several years. Her most recent research work was her involvement in the MOCAT (Modern Competencies for Academic Teachers) Project to develop interactive online modules for capacity building for university lectures. She has over twenty years’ experience in designing, planning and implementing Teacher Education and literacy education programmes, particularly among marginalised communities in Kwale, Kajiado and Turkana. She has developed Interactive Modules for Blended teaching and Learning and training manuals and guidelines on the Competency based language skills. Dr. Bwire has vast research experience in teacher education, professional development and literacy spanning over 25 years and has worked on international project among them, USAID’s Teacher Capacity Building, Rockefeller Foundation’s English Literacy Norms QUEST Project, EU’s Modern Competencies for Academic Teachers (MOCAT) and IIDEMIC. She is also an external examiner in Instructional Methods, Language and Literature Education for the University of Nairobi, Machakos University, Masinde Muliro University in Kenhya and University of Pretoria, and Nelson Mandela University, South Africa.

The Research Team:

Dr. Marguerite M. K. O’Connor is a Senior Lecturer in Mathematics She holds a Post-Doctoral fellowship in Mathematics education,  Marang Mathematics and  Science education Centre ,University of Witwatersrand, SA (2014); Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Mathematics Education, Kenyatta University, Kenya; a PhD in Mathematics Education from Kenyatta University, a Master of Education (M.Ed)- Mathematics Education, Kenyatta University Kenya; and  Post Graduate Diploma in Population Studies (PGDPS);  University of Nairobi, Kenya; Bachelor of Education,(Sc, Double Mathematics) University of Nairobi. Kenya (1980). Dr. O’Connor has undergone several other trainings such as Trainer of Trainers, Hiroshima, Japan (1998); e-learning Management) course, Tokyo, Japan (1998); INSET Module writing course, Kenyatta University,  Kenya (2012);  Integration of Technology in Education course, Kenyatta  University, Kenya. She is a Facilitator for MPhil, Mathematics Teacher Mentor; MPhil Programme, Braeburn College; is an INSET provider (SMASSE Project, MOEST), Nairobi; Principal Lecturer Mathematics and Mathematics Education, Kenya Science Teachers College (KSTC.-TSC). She is also an external examiner, Mathematics education, University of Nairobi, Mt Kenya University, UNISA, University of Pretoria, Wits University. She is a member of Vice Chancellors’ Monitoring and Evaluation committee on Competency Based Curriculum (CBC) for Higher Education; and a Board member Regional Centre for Capacity Development, Coordinator, Mathematics Education Methods course, (undergraduate Graduate and PhD Programs)   

Dr. Priscilla Ndegwa is a lecturer at Kenyatta University. She holds a PhD and Master’s degree in human resource management and a Bachelor degree in education (Economics and Business studies). She is a trainer and module developer. She is the Coordinator, Kenyatta University Dadaab Centre that coordinates Refugee studies & Empowerment projects. She has extensive experience of over 8 years at the centre, managing refugee and forcefully displaced persons capacity building in Dadaab and Kakuma. She has vast experience in implementation of global consortium projects involving NGO’s, national and foreign universities. She is a member of the Connected Learning in Crisis Consortium (CLCC) which brings together global players interested in bringing education to those in situations of emergencies. She has undertaken training on management of projects in emergency situations including: Advanced certificate on Higher Education in Emergencies (University of Geneva summer school), Global E-coaching Forum: Effective Project Implementation in Emergency Situation (ILO-International Training Centre), Course for Governmental Training Institutions and Academia-Global Compact on Refugees (International Institute of Humanitarian Law). Her areas of interest include Management practices and issues affecting the world of Work, Social-Economic issues, Forced Displacement and Education in Emergencies. In this particular project Dr Ndegwa will support and coordinate project implementation among migrant populations in Dadaab as well as participate in need analysis, module development and training. 

Dr. Mildred Pauline Nawiri is the immediate former Director, Centre for International Programmes and Collaborations and a senior lecturer at Kenyatta University, Department of Chemistry. Mildred holds a PhD and Master’s degree in Analytical Chemistry and a Bachelor degree in Education (Mathematics and Chemistry). She is a trainer and University coordinator for the Student Training for Entrepreneurial Promotion for Youth (STEP-4Y) in Kenyan Counties and a Chemistry/STEP module developer. She has coordinated several Kenyatta University Projects including the Collaboration for Entrepreneurial Universities (CEPU) with a consortium of German Institutions. Mildred has over 15 years’ experience in teaching, research and Project management and implementation. She has 5 years’ experience as Director promoting the international agenda of the University that involves international students and staff through which over 400 Collaborations are established and coordinated. Dr. Nawiri has undertaken several capacity building training including in Fundraising, leadership and strategy development, Idea camp, proposal writing HINNOVATE among others. Her areas of interest inclined to this project will scope in Entrepreneurship promotion and module development and training. This year 2023 she holds the prestigious award being a Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program Host.

Dr. Beatrice Awori Bunyasi is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Early Childhood and Special Needs Education at Kenyatta University.  She holds a PhD from Kenyatta University (2010) and MPhil in Special Education from University of Oslo Norway (2002). She has conducted research on interaction of deaf children in regular school (Inclusive setup) in Kenya as a Principal Investigator for MPhil degree. Dr. Bunyasi is engaged in international projects by Save the Children International on inclusion of children with disabilities in South Sudan “Mapping on Inclusive Education in Lakes (Rumbek) and Jonglei (Bor) in South Sudan”. She has conducted research on “Equity in Students’ Enrolment in Public Universities in Kenya: An Analysis of Undergraduates with Disabilities. Commission for University Education in 2018. She has also trained many teachers for learners with special needs at both diploma level at Kenya Institute of Special Education (KISE) and university levels at Kenyatta University particularly on how to develop Individualised Educational Programs (IEPs) as possible approaches to support learners with special needs. She is the immediate former Chairperson of the Early Childhood and Special Needs Education Department at Kenyatta University (2018-2020).

Dr. Francis Gichuki Mwangi is Lecturer at the Department of Educational Communication & Technology at Kenyatta University. He holds a PhD in Language Education and a  Master of Education in Language Education Kenyatta University. He has conducted research on: Pedagogical Techniques that bolster learners' acquisition of Extensive reading habits in secondary schools in Laikipia County, Kenya for PhD degree. He is currently conducting a study on English as a school subject in basic education: Influencing future policy directions in Collaboration with Seven European universities. Dr. Mwangi is the current Coordinator of E-learning in the School of Education, Kenyatta University where he facilitates training of faculty members on effective use of the Learning Management System. He has worked as a Curriculum Support Officer under the Teachers Service Commission tasked with induction and training of teachers on teaching methodologies and E-learning under Competence Based Curriculum.

Writer: Dr. Adelheid M. Bwire

Project Coordinator, IIDEMIC

Login to post comments

KUTV LIVE|| NATIONAL VALUES AND PRINCIPLES OF GOVERNANCE DEBATE

Top
We use cookies to improve our website. By continuing to use this website, you are giving consent to cookies being used. More details…