By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express
Durham College is leading the charge in improving education in Kenya.
Partnering with the Kenya Education for Employment Program, Durham College, along with Olds College in Alberta and Algonquin College, will be leading a three-year partnership with Kitale National Polytechnic and Eldoret National Polytechnic in Kenya in order to help shift the institutions from theoretical to a more hands-on approach to education with a focus on civil engineering and agriculture programs.
“At Durham College and in the college system in Canada in general, students learn by doing, so it’s a very applied learning format,” says Katie Boone, the manager of international partnerships at Durham College.
The project is one of five international projects Durham has across the world, including similar agreements with institutions in Vietnam, Peru, Guyana and Barbados. The Kenya project is funded by a $880,000 contribution from Colleges and Institutes Canada (CiCan) and over $230,000 of in-kind donations from the three contributing colleges.
“The Ontario college system is seen as a very, very strong system worldwide and our national organization CiCan has been brokering this type of relationship with other countries for a number of years now,” says Don Lovisa, the president of Durham College. “It’s a really neat project and it provides us as an institution amazing opportunities for our staff and faculty for their own professional development.”
Along with DC staff travelling to Kenya to assist, members of the Kenyan institutions will be coming to Durham as part of the program.
“It’s very focused on strong relationship development so that the experiences and the exchanges that we work toward together are sustainable,” Boone says, noting the project is very much an equal contribution from both institutions.
“The learning is really dual, there’s a two-way street to the learning here. It’s not about the Canadians going and showing the Kenyans how to do things better, it’s not that at all,” she says. “The tone here is an equal partnership. Our faculty learn just as much as any of our international partner or faculty or institution would learn and it’s a critical component of Durham College’s internationalization strategy.”