VIU Embarks on Three-Year Partnership With Kenyan College to Develop Building Technology Programs

Darrell Harvey, Jessie Magee-Chalmers and Deanna Littlejohn are meeting with faculty and staff from Kisii National Polytechnic in western Kenya this week to begin a three-year collaboration that will bolster the school’s building technology programs.

June 22, 2017 - 4:45pm

Collaboration also promises to forge closer ties between VIU’s trades and engineering programs

Vancouver Island University (VIU) is laying the foundations of a strong partnership with a national polytechnic in western Kenya that aims to help bolster the east African school’s building technology programs.

VIU faculty and staff are in Kenya this week to meet with colleagues at partner institution Kisii National Polytechnic and conduct a needs assessment that will help guide the new curriculum the two schools will develop together.

“There is a growing need for more skilled tradespeople in Kenya,” says Darrell Harvey, International Projects Coordinator. “Our Kenyan partner is looking to increase the hands-on learning within their building technology programs and felt we had strong skills and expertise among our faculty to help.”

The three-year, $1.67-million partnership is part of the Kenya Education for Employment Program, an initiative of Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) funded by Global Affairs Canada that is focused on strengthening and supporting technology and vocational education and training in Kenya.

VIU is working in consortium with Humber College, Durham College and Selkirk College to develop and enhance training programs in mechanical engineering, renewable energy and building technology at three Kenyan colleges, including Kisii National Polytechnic. The long-term goal is to increase employment and economic development opportunities for Kenyan youth and support the government’s vision of becoming a middle-income country by 2030.

Harvey is in Kenya with Jessie Magee-Chalmers, Associate Dean of Trades and Applied Technology and Deanna Littlejohn, an Instructor in the Electrical Program, as well as representatives of VIU’s Canadian consortium partners.

“Our Kenyan partner is keen on closing the gap between engineering and trades, and integrating more hands-on learning into their programs,” says Littlejohn. “The dynamics of our team and the structure of the CICan deliverables creates a healthy platform to look for a solution.”

Kisii National Polytechnic’s building technology programs include training in carpentry, masonry, plumbing and electrical. Together, the partners will develop competency-based curriculum that will help better prepare students for the workforce. 

Littlejohn says the project also has great potential to forge ties between the Canadian consortium partners, as well as bring the trades and engineering departments closer together at VIU.

Dr. Brian Dick, Chair of the Department of Physics, Engineering and Astronomy, who is also part of the team, is excited to work with his Kenyan counterparts and learn more about that area of the world.

“It’s mostly about what we can do to help them, but I will be taking away tools and ideas to enhance the educational opportunities for students here as well,” he says.

The KEFEP partnership is the latest in a VIU’s growing involvement in international development, which now includes three ongoing projects funded through CICan. The other two include VIU’s partnership with YTEPP Ltd in Trinidad and Tobago in the field of cosmetology, as well as in hospitality and tourism training with Tanzania’s National College of Tourism.



Jenn McGarrigle, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University

P: 250.740.6559 | C: 250.619.6860 | E: | T: @VIUNews

Tags: Announcements