Mount Kenya University (MKU) has been ranked among the top five destinations for international students from Africa and beyond in a recent study released by CPS Research International.
CPS Research International is a market and social research company registered in Kenya, and which has cut a niche for specialized research in Africa.
Under the private universities’ category, MKU emerged third, while in terms of satisfaction, MKU was ranked fourth at 57.05 per cent.
“International students preferred some universities to others because of high quality of education, affordability aspects, high global ranking, great culture, holistic education, good placement and internship offers,” reads the report.
The reputation and global ranking of the universities, the cost of programmes they teach, quality of education and ease of accessing accommodation are some of the factors that attract foreign students.
Others factors that influence foreigners’ choices are location of the university, type and duration of the courses offered, clearly defined academic calendars, cost of living and availability of international students’ support desk in the respective institutions.
Overall, the state of national security, immigration rules, culture of the country and ease of getting employed influence students’ choice to study in Kenya.
The University of Nairobi has the highest number of foreigners, with nearly 1,300 international students enrolled. Second was United States International University (USIU) with 1,100 students while Strathmore came third with 660.
MKU was fourth with 560 while Kenyatta University closes the top five institutions with international appeal with 472 students enrolled. Overall, there are 6,202 foreign students in Kenya.
The study, conducted between January and February this year, targeted international university students and administrators in 71 institutions.
Ugandans constitute the highest number of foreign students in the mentioned institutions, according to the study.
Other big groups come from South Sudan, Tanzania, Somalia and Nigeria, respectively. The others are spread across Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Malawi and Zimbabwe.
“Most of them are youth aged 18-24 years at 54.1 per cent, undertaking undergraduate courses,” revealed the report.
Popular degree courses with foreigners are business and economics, engineering, medical studies, teacher training and education, natural science and ICT. Law and other social and behavioral sciences, humanities, media and journalism are also in demand.
Meanwhile, Mku Vice-Chancellor Prof Deogratius Jaganyi says the institution has transited all its programmes to the online delivery mode in compliance with presidential public order no. 2 of 2021 on the coronavirus pandemic.
In an address to the nation on March 26, 2021, President Uhuru Kenyatta directed an immediate suspension of all on-going physical learning save for candidates sitting for examinations and those in medical training.
“MKU has heavily invested in necessary ICT support systems with online connectivity and strong hotspots within the Campuses and Open Distance and Electronic Learning Centres,” says the VC.
However, MKU, being among the institutions offering medical training in the College of Health Sciences, has embraced itself to enhance face-to-face delivery of the concerned medical and health programmes.
He tipped students and staff they can still access the premises and benefit from the connectivity within the campuses while observing social distance and all other Ministry of Health covid-19 preventive and containment protocols.
“We have identified staff and students in the most vulnerable category for particular attention and support,” added Prof Jaganyi.
He said library services are available to students and staff while observing necessary protocols with adjusted operational hours.
However, the digital library is accessible 24/7 at eresources.mku.ac.ke portal. Preparations are also underway for online registration and orientation of new students in April and May intakes.