by David Musyoka
NAIROBI, Oct. 21 (Xinhua) -- Kenya is set to host a conference that will discuss the status of higher education in Africa and across the world.
Chacha Nyaigotti-Chacha, chair of Commission for University Education, said Saturday the conference set for early next year will see scholars from around the globe meet in Kenya to deliberate on the challenges and opportunities in the higher education sector.
Nyaigotti-Chacha said issues related to the funding of research and the universities themselves and the embracing of technology will also be discussed.
"We are happy to host the 2nd biennial conference in Kenya. It puts Kenya on the map of countries with the best university education system in the world," he said.
This would be the second time Kenya would be hosting such a significant event. The last conference that brought scholars from all over the world was held it Kenyatta University in 2016.
Nyaigotti-Chacha added that since the last conference, most Kenyan universities, especially the top seven universities, have witnessed massive enrolment of foreign students.
He gave an example of University of Nairobi and Kenyatta University which have witnessed big increase in enrolment. This does not only apply to Kenya but also to the neighboring East African countries.
A spot check at the University of Nairobi revealed that there were a large number of foreign students studying in the institutions. The majority are students from China, Namibia, Uganda, Tanzania and Sudan, among other countries.
China, he said, has also awarded scholarships to many Kenyan students thus fostering the good relationship between the two countries.
Nyaigotti-Chacha said that the conference is being held at a time when plans are underway to set up national Open University in Kenya where learners can study online and interact with lecturers across the world online.
According to the latest webometrics rankings (July 2017) of the best universities in Kenya, University of Nairobi was ranked the best in sub-Saharan Africa. The institution has a population of over 70,000 students.
Professor Peter Mbithi, the Vice-Chancellor of University of Nairobi, said the institution will participate in the forthcoming conference.
"This is an opportunity for our institution to showcase its latest research and innovation to the world. This will be like world exchange program where you get to hear what the world-class universities have been doing. The bottom line is benchmarking," Mbithi said in an interview this week.
Laban Ayiro, Moi University Acting Vice-Chancellor, said they would participate in the upcoming biennial conference again.
"The last conference was a breakthrough for Moi University. Our dons got an opportunity to network with dons from the developed countries like Canada, China, United States, exchanging ideas in research and innovations, students getting fellowships and scholarships as a result," he said.