A mobile phone poll survey conducted for Fast Company by GeoPoll in Kenya and Ghana reveal that 42% of Kenyan and 40% of Ghanaian respondents use the internet daily. Among those who use the internet, about half i.e 49% of Kenyan and 52% of Ghanaian respondents use online education resources such as MOOCs, Khan Academy or university websites. 87% of Kenyans and 90% of Ghanaians agree that online resources provide a great opportunity to access education.
In the just released 2013 KCSE results, a total of 446,696 candidates sat for the examination, a 2.3% increase from the previous year’s 436,349. However, only 27.46% of all candidates who sat for 2013 KCSE exams, an equivalent of 123,365 students, attained the minimum university entry qualification of C+ and above. However, the Kenya University intake system, that includes both public and private Universities can only manage a maximum intake of 63,000 students.
But there lies so much potential in making higher education learning accessible to so many candidates locked out of Universities due to grade performance or financial constraints. Case in point, is Ahmed Maawy, a resident of Mombasa.
“We used to write computer programs on paper.” says Ahmed Maawy.”You could write a program that calculates the area of a square. And you write that whole piece of code on paper. That’s a test. That’s crazy!”
The private technical institute that Maawy attended in 2002-2003 closed the doors to its computer labs outside class hours, giving students little chance to execute the actual code. To compensate for the weak schools attended, Maawy went to cybercafes where he accessed textbooks over torrent sites and used sites like Codeproject and Android.com to teach himself web and mobile development. Maawy gained practical experience working with Ushahidi, one of Kenya’s robust technology companies.
Today Maawy is a techprenuer with several ventures: D8a, Siftdeck, Apps4Africa and MombasaTechCommunity, a mission-driven venture aimed to provide everything that his university education did not to other young hopefuls.