Two Kenyan Universities have begun the process of offering Online degrees in Data Science and Artificial intelligence courses without charging tuition fees.
This follows a partnership between the two institutions, Eldoret University and Cooperative Universities, and the European Business University of Luxembourg.
The two institutions have launched Online Masters’s Degrees in Data Science, Artificial Intelligence (AI) online Degrees, and online certificate courses.
EBU will roll out the certificate courses for all Kenyans with 5000 limited scholarships.
Peris Litunya, a Director of Education in Kenya and a former Education attaché at the Kenya Embassy in Brussels introduced the two universities to the European Business University of Luxembourg and even took the Vice Chancellors on a tour of the EBU Campus in Luxembourg.
She said Data Science Course is only offered at Strathmore University a private Institution, Kenya School of Monetary Studies a public institution and Moringa School a private institution.
In a telephone interview, she said the fees for tuition in those institutions range from Sh. 98,000 to Sh. 140,000 per semester.
She said there is a school that offers the Data Science course for Sh. 250,000 tuition fees per semester.
“European Business University offers everything that entails Data science courses to completion for only a Commitment/Administration fee amounting to Sh. 55,000 for Degree and Sh. 150,000 for masters,” she said.
The Director of Education said it was so important for Kenyans to access Data science courses at an affordable rate because data science was a rapidly growing field globally adding that its application has the potential to drive innovation and economic growth.
She said by offering a master’s Degree program and certificate courses in Data Science institutions like EBU could address the growing demand for skilled professionals in the field and contribute to the development of Kenya’s Digital economy.
“Also providing education opportunities in data science can have several benefits for Kenyans. Data Science Skills are in higher demand across various industries including finance, health care, technology and marketing,” she said.
Litunya said Data Science bridges the skills gap adding that by EBU offering accessible and affordable programs Kenyans can acquire the necessary skills to fill the existing skill gap in the job market.
Though Data Science, she said, Kenyans will be empowered since education in that field equips individuals with the knowledge and tools to analyse and interpret large data sets, make data-driven decisions and contribute to innovation.
“This empowers individuals to pursue careers in a high-demand field and potentially create their own entrepreneurial ventures. Data Science also helps to promote economic growth,” she said.
By producing a skilled workforce in Data science she said Kenya can attract investments from local and international companies seeking to leverage data Analysis for business growth which will lead to job creation, improved productivity and overall economic development.
The Director said Data science also fosters innovation as it plays a crucial role in driving innovation as it enables the discovery of insights, patterns and trends from large data sets.
“By nurturing a data science ecosystem through education and training Kenya Can foster innovation in various sectors and solve complex problems using data-driven approaches.”
Litunya revealed that she was pointed by the Ministry of Education as an education attaché and was sent to Belgium to open the Education office at the Kenya Embassy in Brussels which is accredited to the Kingdom of Belgium the Grand Bourges of Luxembourg mission to the European Union, Africa Caribbean and Pacific Ocean organization states and the WCO.
Her role was to champion education in all the areas of accreditation.
Litunya said she was posted in October 2018 October but since the Education office was new she had to wait for budgetary allocation so she had to report to Brussels in December 2019.
“In 2020 the then Kenya Ambassador to Belgium was Invited by Dr. James Mulli of European Business University for the inauguration of the University and of course me being the Education attaché, I accompanied the Ambassador, it was from that time that I was able to have a working relationship with Dr. Mulli,’ she said.
From that time Litunya said she sold EBU to Kenya something he said was not easy because they started with certificate courses as it did not go well with Kenyans who preferred getting scholarships on Degrees, masters courses or PHDs.
She made sure that call for EBU scholarships were posted on the Ministry’s websites and talked to a number of schools, principals, and friends so as to help her popularize the University.
“Looking at the number of scholarships registered for certificate courses now EBU was able to offer the Degree and now masters courses,” she said.
The Director said in June 2022 she organized five universities including the University of Eldoret, the Cooperative University of Kenya, Alupe University, Jomo Kenyatta University of Science Agriculture and Technology and Maseno University to collaborate with Vives University in Belgium.
She said the universities visited the campuses and they signed MOUs of collaborating in education adding that the VCs were invited to visit Belgium. After visiting Vives University she took them to the EBU campus in Luxembourg to meet Dr. Mulli where they talked about areas of collaboration.
“Two years down the line they have now signed a Memorandum of Understanding of having partnership in the scholarships, in the courses that EBU is offering and more saw in Data Science, in September we will launch the pilot project may be in January we can have the first intake,” She said.
The Plan later she said is to see EBU provide the courses, set up the technical support and co-teach with the lecturers in the two universities.
After EBU puts everything into place and champions the different intakes of students who will apply for the courses then later they will leave the two universities to Mann the courses and continue.
Litunya said EBU’s vision is not to hold on but empower people and later continue empowering people.
She said certificates from the courses will be from the two universities while degrees or any other courses that students will enrol in will be from the universities though the EBU logo will be on the certificates too.
“EBU being an online University for it to get accreditation in Kenya requires it to have a physical university so we sat and looked at the best way we can collaborate with these universities and how the degree and masters being given from these universities,” she said.
She said EBU offers online courses at affordable rates such that for a certificate course for 13 weeks, a student pays a mere Sh. 3000 commitment fees.
With the launch of the 5000 courses, she said more Kenyans will access education and revival of the economy as more youths will be able to access education.
“Kenyans will not have to struggle to look for scholarships they will not have to look for scholarships abroad, Luxembourg will be at their doorsteps,” she said.
Litunya said she is happy EBU was launching Hakuna Madata online centres where students who have no access to the internet can be able to use to learn adding that it was a gift by Dr Mulli a Kenyan to the Kenyan children to access education.
She told the EBU to collaborate with other Kenyan universities to expand their rich data science courses and their wealth of curriculum development.
“EBU should also explore partnerships with Government institutions and Industries and associations and other relevant stakeholders, these partnerships will help promote data science technology and secure funding or support for scholarships and outreach programs,” she said.
She said the Dean of EBU being a Kenyan is so passionate about Kenyans getting quality and affordable education that’s why he worked so hard to get the Luxembourg government get funding for many Kenyans to benefit.
The European Business University of Luxembourg (EBU) is a government of Luxembourg-accredited Private Research Institute which currently has 15,800 students in 85 countries enrolled in its certificate impact program and Degree programs.
More than 10,000 students are from Kenya who is enrolled in the different courses available.
The Idea of the scholarship program is to offer opportunities to as many people as possible who cannot afford the costs of Education.