When the Covid-19 pandemic hit the country, the government shut down all learning institutions forcing them to adopt e-learning.
However, internet connectivity was a significant challenge. The Kenya Coast National Polytechnic (KCNP) quickly navigated the turbulence through technology, and currently, the national polytechnic has embraced blended learning (physical and online).
Through funding from the East African Skills for Transformation and Regional Integration Program, the national polytechnic developed a Sh8 million online Learning Managing System (LMS), supporting other institutions in the region to embrace online studies.
“We are the centre and pioneer of LMS in the region; eight institutions have embraced the online studies anchored on our programme. We realised many students come from humble backgrounds and could not afford smart gadgets, which hindered us from fully operating the LMS,” said the KCNP principal Ann Mbogo.
Training of trainers
The polytechnic also uses the system for training its trainers.
“We are developing content and uploading it online. With increased access to Tvet institutions, we have embraced blended learning to maximise virtual learning opportunities. We have outdoor benches for students to access Wi-Fi and learn whenever they are in the institution,” she said.
Ms Mbogo further said that KCNP has increased its enrolment of students, developed the competency-based education and training (CBET) curriculum and increased partnerships and collaboration with both regional and international training institutions. These include the Arab Academy for Science Technology and Marine Transport in Egypt, National Institute of Transport in Tanzania, China, among others.
In 2019, KCNP was selected as a centre of excellence for training maritime and blue economy experts. The centre currently has courses in marine welding, cruise animation, sandblasting, mixology for professional bartenders, and pastry. Currently, the polytechnic offers courses between certificate and diploma. Short courses run from two to six months, while others take two years.
“We have increased partnerships and collaboration, which has seen us benchmark and strengthen our industrial advisory board. Where we couldn’t get the attachment for our students during the pandemic, we were able to do it internally. Our trainers have been exposed to the new technology in the industry to be in tandem with the global market,” she said.
The institution has around 7,449 trainers, 4,900 of them being males and 2,500 females. Many of its graduates work in cruise ships abroad and some at the beach hotels in the Coast region, with some opting to start their own businesses.
Ms Mbogo plans to introduce a course in driving, and the institution has already procured two vehicles and two motorbikes.
She is also establishing a marine transport and port logistics campus at Waa in Kwale County. The World Bank funds the Sh1.8 billion Regional Flagship Marine Transport and Port Logistics Centre project