May 1, 2019 - 1:45pm
Vancouver Island University’s (VIU’s) institutional partnership with Kisii National Polytechnic (KNP) in Kenya is taking the next step this fall with the roll out of KNP’s new foundations program in Building Technology.
Six KNP instructors are at VIU this month being trained on project-based learning and technical skills to deliver the new program, which includes elements of plumbing, carpentry and masonry – skills needed for the growing demand of trades workers in Kenya.
“Our teaching model in Kenya has traditionally been focused more on theoretical learning than practical,” says Peter Nyaribo, KNP Head of the Building and Civil Engineering Department. “We partnered with VIU to gain their knowledge to help our students become competitive in the market through developing a hands-on teaching approach."
VIU entered into a 3.5-year partnership with KNP as part of the Kenya Education for Employment Program, an initiative of Colleges and Institutes Canada funded by Global Affairs Canada. VIU is working in consortium with Humber College, Durham College and Selkirk College to develop and enhance training at three Kenyan colleges, including Kisii National Polytechnic.The long-term goal of the initiative is to increase employment and economic development opportunities for Kenyan youth.
“This partnership has been a great opportunity to learn from our Kenyan friends and also strengthen our global relationships,” says Darrell Harvey, VIU International Projects and Internationalization Coordinator. “Getting involved in international cooperation projects like this provides opportunities for our faculty to learn and engage with other institutions around the world.”
Through online collaboration and international training visits, VIU and KNP have worked together to develop curriculum for the new competency-based program and are now focusing on how to deliver the content. This includes training on new power tools and equipment that are being procured as part of the project.
“One of the biggest challenges we currently have is teaching with out of date equipment and having insufficient access to power tools,” says Benjamin Ongoro, KNP Instructor and Counsellor. “Now, we will be able to be on par with other institutions around the world with the equipment we teach with and the level of education we provide to our students.”
KNP will be outfitting three new workshops on their campus all stocked with industry relevant equipment.
“Our partnership with VIU has revolutionized how we approach teaching and I cannot wait to apply what we have learned here to our students and support them to become competent and confident trades workers in Kenya,” says Nyaribo.
VIU instructors will be travelling to Kenya over the coming year and a half to help their counterparts get the new program up and running.
Rae-Anne Guenther, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University