Experts in academia have predicted a shift from the traditional classroom learning to an online setting even after the Covid-19 pandemic whereby, students will be required to take more responsibilities for their academic growth without supervision.
This learning shift they said, is a necessary adaptation to the fourth industrial revolution which we are currently experiencing.
The experts were speaking during the 7th Edition of the Higher Education and Career Fair organized by Nation Media Group, between January 22-23, 2020 at Sarit Center, Nairobi. The theme of the event was: empowering the youth to succeed in the Post-Covid-19 era.
Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology’s (JKUAT) Deputy Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs, Prof. Robert Kinyua, who was a panelist during the discussions, stated that “Covid-19 has come with a lot of disruption to the academic system which has triggered a reaction from universities to shift to online classes.”
Prof. Kinyua said, online classes will be a welcome challenge to all lecturers to up their game as students will want to attend classes that give them the best quality education.
He was however quick to point out his reservations about fully shifting to virtual learning noting that it is impossible to teach some of the courses.
Instead of shifting fully to virtual learning, Prof. Kinyua said, blended learning should be encouraged to also nurture social complexities which are equally important during transition to the work environment.
He added that as universities are still in the process of reviewing the syllabus, they should closely work with the industry to identify and address the gap existing between industry needs and what the universities are producing for the job market.
On his part, Mount Kenya University, Vice Chancellor, Deogratius Jaganyi, urged students to start adapting to digital learning and take responsibility for their own lives in order to keep pace with the changing times. He emphasized that “no university can teach you everything in 4 years.”
Prof. Jaganyi said that the issue of increase or reduction of school fees which has been a topic of discussion, since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, should be shelved at the moment until a complete review of the transition into virtual learning has been done.
Safaricom’s Head of Digital Products and Services, Fauzia Ali, urged university students to leverage on the Covid-19 pandemic to learn new skills noting that employers are always looking for problem solvers.
She further urged them to be pro-active and enroll for free online classes or even volunteer work which will enrich their experiences in the job market.