The University of Nairobi, International Centre for Higher Education Innovation under the auspices of UNESCO (UNESCO-ICHEI), UNESCO Priority Africa and External Relations Sector, UNESCO regional office for Eastern Africa in Nairobi, the Kenya Ministry of Education, Science and Technology on Monday, April 25, 2022, launched the Smart Classroom (IIOE Kenya National Centre).
IIOE (International Institute of Online Education), is a global collaborative initiative to strengthen the teacher competency of Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) in developing countries and improve access to quality higher education resource. Initiated by UNESCO-ICHEI, together with its partner HEIs and Enterprises in Africa and Asia-Pacific countries, IIOE aims to enhance the capacity of partner HEIs.
In the context of the digital transformation of higher education in the country and East Africa, IIOE Kenya National Centre will leverage the networks and resources of IIOE, bridge UNESCO-ICHEI and the higher education community in Kenya, and create a supportive local higher education ecosystem contributing to realizing Kenya's national development strategies.
During the ceremony, Prof. LI Ming, Director of UNESCO-ICHEI, said that UNESCO-ICHEI is committed to supporting Kenya on the journey of higher education digital transformation. He also expressed his hope that the IIOE Kenya National Centre will fulfill its mission to bridge UNESCO-ICHEI and Kenya's higher education community.
PS Jerome Ochieng, Ministry of ICT remarked on how the University continues to play a leadership role in the country, he noted, ‘As the first national university, you have continued to live true to your mission of providing quality university education and training and by so doing you have fed the country and the entire world at large with the technical and professional requirements. I am sure your sister universities represented here would attest to that. He commended the University of Nairobi for embracing digital transformation. The PS speech was read by the Secretary of Administration in the same State Department, Ms. Lucy Mulili.
On his part, the UoN Vice Chancellor, Prof. Stephen Kiama noted how important the launch is to the University. He said, ‘This is an important day for the University of Nairobi as well for the entire higher education sector and Kenya as a whole, to launch the IIOE Kenya National Center. The journey of working together with UNESCO-ICHEI started in 2018 with the visit of the Chancellor to China. We have worked consistently since then and this has resulted in two key initiatives; the International Institute of Online Education (IIOE) Kenya National Center and The Smart Classroom.
The International Institute of Online Education (IIOE) was launched by UNESCO-ICHEI together with 11 African and Asian HEIs, 9 Global EdTech enterprises, and 4 HEIs in December 2019, with the vision to support the realization of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 4 and the Education 2030 Agenda by empowering the digital transformation of higher education systems. IIOE provides a multilingual online education platform, offering online courses and teacher training programmes in ICT competencies, covering areas such as Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, and online and blended pedagogy. With over 30 partner HEIs worldwide, IIOE provides a holistic support ecosystem for the digital transformation of higher education. Partner HEIs engage in joint research, exchange best practices and information through meetings and webinars, joint development, and mutual sharing of online curricula, supporting each other along the way to improve higher education quality, equity, inclusion, and relevance. Since its launch, IIOE has benefited over 9,000 teachers in 135 countries worldwide.
The "IIOE National Centre" initiative was launched in 2021 as a response to the increasing demands of HEIs in developing countries to join IIOE after unprecedented changes in global higher education due to the Covid-19 pandemic. IIOE National Centre will serve as a national and regional hub for higher education digital transformation through research, capacity building, online course construction and sharing, technical support, and networking.
In 2022, UNESCO-ICHEI and IIOE National Centre will implement a wide array of activities to fulfill its mission. IIOE Platform 2.0 will be officially launched in October to support all 6 UN official languages, the development of a dedicated IIOE Kenya National Centre page, and flexible operation of online course development and publishing. UNESCO-ICHEI will organize 16 sessions of training, 15 webinars, and conferences, in the fields of AI, Cloud Computing, Blockchain, Education Policy, Teacher Professional Development, etc. to benefit more than 15,000 higher education workforces. With the support of IIOE Kenya National Centre, IIOE member institutions in Kenya will have access to all the diverse training programmes and courses, including the ones co-developed by UNESCO-ICHEI, partner HEIs, and enterprises.
IIOE Kenya National Centre will also join forces with UNESCO-ICHEI to conduct research on higher education digital transformation and to apply and localize the research outcome. UNESCO-ICHEI and IIOE National Centre also plan to pilot industry-based professional certification programmes in collaboration with IIOE partner-enterprises, to improve graduate employability and construct a technology-enabled learning environment. A 'Join IIOE' mechanism has been co-developed by UNESCO-ICHEI and IIOE Kenya National Centre to facilitate HEIs in Kenya to join the IIOE network to benefit from all the resources and activities.
The successful launch of IIOE Kenya National Centre will contribute to the digital transformation of higher education in the country and East Africa. Leveraging the networks and resources of IIOE, IIOE Kenya National Centre will create a local network of higher education practitioners in the field of digital transformation and help to train graduates better equipped for the digital era. With the joint efforts of IIOE and its partners, IIOE Kenya National Centre will play an important role in filling the digital divide in the global south and in achieving SDG4.
For Kenya higher education institutions interested in joining IIOE, please visit the following web page for more information:
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