As institutions of higher learning are forced to turn to online learning to ensure students finish their courses on time, the JKUAT University Council has pledged to support the Management Board to address the myriad of issues brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Making their inaugural familiarization tour of JKUAT, Thursday, September 3, 2020, the team, led by the Chair of Council, Dr. Gumato Ukur Yatani, made an undertaking to support the University as it taps into its existing investment in open and distance e-learning commonly referred to SoDe-L.
“It is gratifying to note that immediately the closure of universities in Kenya took effect, the University management and senate embarked on a programme to train the staff and students to enable them move their teaching and learning to online platforms,” opined Dr. Gumato.
Dr. Gumato assured the management that the visit had given them an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the institution’s operations and assess the status of facilities in the University with regards to its preparedness towards fully re-opening its gates to the students.
“We are indeed in extraordinary times. But I am impressed by the efforts the Vice Chancellor and her team have so far made in preparation for receiving students back to the University,” said the Chair of Council.
Vice Chancellor, Prof. Victoria Wambui Ngumi said with the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic the University embraced the challenge to adopt online teaching which she said had been very well received by the students who included the first years that were currently in the process of registering virtually for the 2020/2021 academic year.
“The University’s registration and lectures are conducted online via Learning Management System such as the Moodle and Google Classroom, while KENET Big Blue Button, Zoom, Google Meet video conferencing tools are used for online interactive discussions between faculty and students,” explained Prof. Ngumi.
While thanking the Council for their continued support since assuming office in November 2019, Prof. Ngumi informed the delegation that through KENET, both the staff and students had undergone vigorous training on online lessons and were adhering to the Commission for University Education (CUE) guidelines which include a format for self-assessment reports that help institutions to report on the status of remote learning to the regulator.
During the familiarization tour, Dr. Gumato who was accompanied by all Council members; Mr. Thomas Mshindi Nyamacha, Commissioner Gabriel Lengoiboni, Mr. Joseph Gitonga M’Aciuru, Mrs. Winnie Omondi, Dr. Salome Gichura, Mr. Eric Korir, and Commissioner Peter Okwanyo visited the JKUAT Industrial Park, Engineering Workshops, lecture halls, Sino Africa Joint Research Centre (SAJOREC), Agricultural Laboratory Building, National Food Fortification Reference Laboratory and the University farm, among other facilities.
Others in the entourage included Deputy Vice Chancellors; Prof. Robert Kinyua (Academic Affairs), Prof. Mary Abukutsa (Research, Production and Extension), Prof. Bernard Ikua (Administration), and Prof. Bernard Otoki (Finance). Also present were Registrars; Dr. Esther Muoria (Academic Affairs), Dr. Patrick Mbindyo (Research, Production and Extension), Dr. Rose Githu (Administration), Finance Officer, Ms. Mary Ngugi, Chief Legal Officer, Ms. Vivian Nyambura and Chief Corporate Communications Officer, Dr. Hindzano Ngonyo.