JKUAT programmes’ Coordinators in accredited Teaching Centres have the responsibility to uphold and promote the core values of the University in the discharge of their duties in the centres. Prof. Romanus Odhiambo, Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Academic Affairs singled out JKUAT’s stringent adherence to quality, professionalism and innovation in its main functions of training and research, that he said had brought honour to JKUAT in sub-Saharan Africa.
Prof. Odhiambo was speaking at JKUAT, Thursday May 8, 2014 at the start of a two day training workshop for over 30 Coordinators who manage JKUAT academic programmes located in 45 different centres across the country under the School of Open, Distance and e-Learning (SODeL). Under SODeL, the University is able to collaborate with specific academic institutions in the country to increase access to university education to beyond bed capacity limits under the Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service.
Prof. Odhiambo reminded the Coordinators he is proud that JKUAT was the first University in Kenya to initiate the self sponsored model of training in 1996 under Continuing Education Programme, the precursor of SODeL. The don talked of the boldness with which JKUAT implemented the new model aimed at taking affordable higher education closer to the people singlehandedly despite heavy criticism mainly from other universities in the country that shunned the idea on unfounded grounds that it would dilute standards. Close to two decades down the line, the model is the darling of university education in Kenya.
Prof. Odhiambo further went on to explain that despite unlocking numerous opportunities for higher education to the people of Kenya, the concept had been as well instrumental in providing mentoring services that had accelerated the elevation of collaborating institutions to autonomous private universities in Kenya. He cited Strathmore University now a leading hub in business studies in Kenya, KCA and Inoorero Universities as beneficiaries of JKUAT collaboration and mentorship.
Enlightening the participants on the notion of technology which is often associated with ‘big things such as airplanes’, Prof. Odhiambo encouraged the Coordinators to, ‘think in terms of adding value to an existing product or service which has the potential of attracting new customers’
Prof. Odhiambo advised the coordinators to employ an entrepreneurial thinking which ‘like the private sector has to aim at satisfying customers’. Bad customer care he added would chase away customers.
‘This training is important because it will provide you with the opportunity to familiarize yourselves with the core activities of SODeL that includes students activities from the point of their admission to the time they graduate from JKUAT’
In his welcoming remarks, Dr. Fred Wamunyokoli, the director of SODeL, told the participants the workshop was designed to sensitize them on the enhanced role of SODeL; which has been expanded to embrace new modes of learning to cater for increasing diverse needs. Dr. Wamunyokoli said ‘the training is expected to enlighten you on new trends in the University’.
The director added the country’s new Constitution, the University’s Act 2012, JKUAT Charter 2013, JKUAT Strategic Plan 2012-20117, and the revised JKUAT Statues have all ushered in drastic changes in the management of JKUAT.