Reimagining equitable access to quality higher education in Africa


University graduands during a past graduation ceremony in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Getting an education is not just a fundamental human right, it is pivotal to the development of communities and societies.

It is now well understood that education increases people’s access to employment opportunities and enhances their level of income thereby contributing to the overall development and prosperity of individuals, families, communities, and nations.

However, access to quality education has remained a challenge for many communities in Africa.

The quality of education that children receive is affected to a very large degree by their environment, which is marked by a lack of essential learning materials such as books, technology, and other school supplies.

There have been notable efforts by governments and development partners to address basic education, but higher education has not received as much attention.

A number of prestigious universities on the continent continue to produce high-performing individuals who greatly contribute to society.

However, these universities have faced more than their fair share of challenges.

For instance, they have limited access to technology, which means that they have been unable to adopt modern innovative approaches to teaching and learning, foster innovation and contribute to societal advancement.

As a result, many of the students who study at these institutions are not supported to engage in critical thinking, creativity, and innovation, nor do they acquire the requisite broad literacy, relating to information, technology, media, and finance in a way that would make their knowledge practically useful in their societies and make them competitive in the global stage.

This is a crucial gap that needs to be addressed.

We must find ways of tapping into the potential of some of our young students to sit on the global stage and move at the pace of the rest.

In this respect, the role played by initiatives like the Kenya Scholar Access Program (KENSAP), must be acknowledged.

KENSAP has been providing opportunities for bright but needy African students to study abroad.

So far, they have supported over 250 bright but needy Kenyan students to access quality education in some of the most prestigious universities in the world including Harvard, MIT, Princeton, Stanford, and Yale.

Since 2004, the value of university financial aid they’ve generated is more than Sh8.5 billion.

PAYE Tax Calculator

Note: The results are not exact but very close to the actual.