Kenya plans to tap own market

March 15, 2002

The Kenyan government is so concerned about the number of students being recruited by foreign universities that it is to hold an education fair to market the courses offered in the country's own universities.

"We want to tap our own market. British and Australian universities have in the past three years eaten into our market," said Kirimania Kimaita, personal assistant to the University of Nairobi vice-chancellor, Francis Gichaga.

The fair will be opened by President Daniel arap Moi, chancellor of the the country's six public universities. It will run from April 15-18 The fair will initially be held in Nairobi but the commission for higher education said there were plans to hold fairs in eastern and central African countries.

Students interested in medicine-related courses, engineering and computer studies will be particular targets. The universities admit between 9,000 and 11,000 government-sponsored students every year.

During an education fair for 43 British universities last month, Britain's high commissioner, Edward Clay, said that more than 3,000 Kenyans were admitted to UK universities every year.

According to the British Council office in Nairobi, the universities of Warwick, Cardiff and Middlesex attract the highest number of students.

The council's deputy director in Kenya, Francis King, said that since the Blair initiative, which allows foreign students to work for 20 hours a week during term time, the number of Kenyan students in British universities had increased by 12 per cent.

About 17,000 Kenyans are studying abroad. The Ministry of Education said they required Ksh16 billion (£160 million) in foreign currency.

Mr King said Kenyan students in the UK spent at least £ million every year on tuition, accommodation and subsistence. Kenya is the most lucrative non-European Union market for Britain, ahead of China, India and Singapore.

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