German model of universities of applied sciences in Kenya
The German Foreign Office and the Kenyan Ministry of Education signed a Joint Declaration of Intent on the establishment of the Eastern African-German University of Applied Sciences in Nairobi on February 9. The project will help create a model of vocational-oriented academic training in close cooperation with industry, the aim being to boost employment among the young population.
Enlarge image Educating vocational trainers (“train the trainers”) will be one focus of the University’s work, which will connect it closely to development assistance measures in the vocational field. The University is intended to become part of the envisaged East African Community Common Higher Education Area. German Universities of Applied Sciences, industry and civil society have already shown a strong interest in, and are ready to support, the project.
Eastern Africa has experienced strong and steady economic growth in recent years, and it is increasingly in need of highly skilled labour. The discovery of important oil, gas and mineral deposits, along with substantial investments in infrastructure (energy networks, pipelines, ports and railways), make the region attractive for international investors and German companies. There is both a rising demand for engineers as well as high youth unemployment (including university graduates). Academic programmes lack relevance and applicability (“graduates without jobs and jobs without graduates”) and there are only very few examples of collaboration between universities and industry.
Enlarge image Former German Foreign Minister Steinmeier shakes hands with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta (© picture alliance / dpa) A joint German-Kenyan fact-finding mission in October 2016 confirmed that the German model of universities of applied sciences could – if properly adapted to the needs of Eastern African countries – promote the transfer of academic knowledge and expertise on efficient cooperation between academia and the private sector. This is particularly true for the fields of mechanical and electrical engineering, information and communication technology, as well as health sciences. German partner universities would in turn be strengthened in their efforts to internationalise their activities.
The German Foreign Office and the Kenyan Ministry of Education are working with partners in their countries to establish an East African-German University of Applied Sciences. The planned University will:
- strengthen the Kenyan higher education system and the role of Kenya as a regional knowledge hub
- increase the employability of young people
- train a highly skilled workforce and boost economic growth
- reinforce links between academia and industry
- expand academic exchange between Germany and Eastern African countries through possible branch campuses of the University in the region
The German Academic Exchange Service and the Commission for University Education of Kenya will be responsible for implementation and quality assurance.