Partnership meeting to South Eastern Kenya University by Dr. Eija Laitinen to strengthen initiated relationship
When thinking about providing a competent workforce, nothing drives the point home more than problem-based learning (PBL). Industries are day in day out researching ways to improve their productivity. One way evident is through being equipped with competent individuals who can take on daily operations swiftly, offer solutions to problems encountered, work in collaboration with fellow work colleagues and outside parties. The core value seen in PBL methodology in Africa is its ability to initiate practical learning culture to students through promoting institutional collaboration and enhancing synergies among different actors.
Through incorporating problem-based learning into current curriculum, the benefits that arise are numerous. South Eastern Kenya University as an institution has embraced the methodology strongly and improvements have been seen both at aggregate and individual levels. Some of the benefits emerging from PBL are and not limited to: increased interactions between different institutions within and outside the country. This has enabled transfer of knowledge and capacity building in staff and students as well.
A huge contribution to SEKU’s resource base has been realized. Problem Based Learning has created an opportunity for students to get involved directly in problem solving activities. The confidence levels of students have been boosted in tackling issues related to areas of their engagement. It’s noted that when a student is involved at an earlier stage in problem solving, chances are that the working proficiency of such a student is immensely increased. This has been seen in students who have participated in PBL exercises.
mambo kwa ground ni different
In addition, PBL has offered a platform for application of classwork in the field. In a common phrase trending in Kenya, “mambo kwa ground ni different,” this has been experienced by many students when moving from class to actual jobs. PBL has however made the transition somewhat easily manageable and has seen students get involved in actual problem-solving activities while in school. The transition becomes easy when a student is backed by a team of competent lecturers who are ready to guide and support in the step-by-step execution of solutions to a particular challenge. Students have therefore gained confidence and are able to find themselves a reference point when faced with challenges.
Facing and interacting with people of different cultures acts as an eye opener. It is mind boggling to know what interactions between and among different cultures can do. The PBL-Bio Africa project has catalyzed this by acting as an initiator of these interactions among institutions. This has made it possible for many to know and understand how different actors play and intelligently sieve out that which is applicable on their side as an institution. Through integrating lessons learnt, improvements are noticeable in different areas of operations.
In the future, the capacity created will be instrumental in initiating other student challenges. This will create more involvement of students and further increase our collaboration as a learning institution with the private sector.
Written by: Mr Dan Ebenezer Bukekhe, South Eastern Kenya University