Nexford University, Washington DC-based next-generation university platform offering affordable, US-accredited degrees worldwide, has announced its expansion across East Africa starting with Kenya.
Nexford’s expansion to Kenya follows the rapid growth of its learner base across Africa, including Nigeria, Egypt, and South Africa. Since its inception in 2019, over 8,000 Nexford learners worldwide have completed over 33,000 skills-focused courses, preparing them for the 21st-century workplace.
Fadl Al Tarzi, Founder & CEO of Nexford University, commented,
Kenya’s economy continues to grow and is destined to leapfrog development as a result of a relatively strong primary education system, a robust technology infrastructure and a government clearly committed to digital transformation. Similar to many other African nations Kenya is witnessing a supply-demand imbalance across higher education, largely as a result of rapid growth in youth population. We are excited to help address that capacity shortage in partnership with a number of local organizations.
We are equally excited to help address local and global talent shortages by enabling Kenyan youth to build the skills they need to qualify for both local and remote jobs. We’ve seen many encouraging examples of how Kenyans can excel in remote jobs, at a time when employers in the US are struggling to find talent locally.
As part of the expansion plan, Dr. Laila Macharia, renowned Kenyan lawyer, businesswoman, entrepreneur, and investor, has been appointed as Senior Advisor focused on strategic partnerships across East Africa starting with Kenya. Laila is Chair of the Africa Digital Media Institute (ADMI), Non-Executive Director of Absa Bank, and Vice Chair of the Centum Investment Company.
Laila Macharia, Senior Advisor to Nexford University, said,
I am passionate about education and the social and economic opportunities it opens up for young people – so I’m delighted to be joining Nexford. I look forward to working with Nexford’s global team to deliver new opportunities for Kenyan learners. I was also thrilled to speak at Nexford’s online education event in Nairobi, raising awareness of the huge opportunity for talented Africans to prepare for the future of work and access the global grid of remote employment. The many benefits of online education – provided by platforms such as Nexford – will help the shift from a ‘brain drain’ to amassing ‘brain capital’.
Kenya’s market context has made fully online education options such as Nexford compelling, a press statement said. Rapid recent rises in student numbers have strained facilities and human resources at Kenyan public universities, creating financial challenges and accusations of falling education quality. In 2022, Kenya had its highest number of prospective university students in five years. Over 173,000 high school pupils qualified with grade C+ or above (2017: 70,000). In 2021, only 167,046 places were available in public and private universities. This increase in the number of students is giving rise to a supply-demand mismatch – a lack of publicly available university spaces is pushing more students to invest in increasingly costly private education, further driving unaffordability, the statement added.
A Kenyan Presidential working party on education reforms is seeking a threefold increase in university fees for government-sponsored students to help fund improvements to education quality. Funding will also be limited to top-graded students, with 40% of all students who got a C+ or above set to miss out on public funding. Combined with proposed fee increases, this raises questions around the sustainability of the reforms and strongly encourages alternative, online models such as Nexford to innovate Kenya’s education sector and meet the country’s growing demand gap from its waiting list of learners – for affordable, high-quality education.
As Nexford strives to deliver education relevant to 21st-century employers, it has partnered with the Federation of Kenya Employers – the national body for Kenyan employers – to analyze skills shortages across Kenyan employers. The results of this analysis will inform Nexford’s curriculum development efforts to help employers upskill and reskill their team members, in line with Nexford’s global backward design model which uses employer data to deliver skills-focused curricula.
As per the report, Nexford will be expanding in Kenya through a range of online partnerships, including employer partnerships in order for employers to access Nexford’s pipeline of qualified graduates.
Nexford is also exploring collaboration with local universities that wish to offer their existing learners additional online programs offered by Nexford, to complement their existing offline offerings. They include Zetech University – a private university integrating innovation, entrepreneurship, and technology, and Riara University – a private university specializing in business and ICT.
To spread awareness around online education and remote career readiness, in collaboration with ADMI, Nexford hosted an event on March 10, attended by hundreds of Kenyan youth and young professionals, leading Kenyan businesses, educators, and recruiters. Attendees learned about online education’s advantages, and the skills essential for success in the digital economy and heard directly from employers on what they look for in candidates.
Nexford’s tech-enabled business model delivers education efficiently without compromising on quality. The average annual tuition for a Master’s degree from Nexford costs $2,800, a fraction of the US national average of $36,000.