Brief History

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The history of Open, Distance and e-Learning (ODeL) in Kenya and the University of Nairobi in particular, goes back to the establishment of the first Department of Extra Mural Studies at Makerere University in 1953 and later the appointment of a resident tutor for Kenya in 1956. The mandate of this department was to conduct open learning courses at community level. In 1962 the Department of Extra Mural Studies was transferred from Makerere University to the then Royal College Nairobi which later became the University of Nairobi. In the same year, the College of Social Studies, Kikuyu, which had run an independent centre for residential adult education since 1961, was absorbed into the University College, Nairobi. The Centre together with the Extra-Mural Department became the Institute of Adult Studies. In 1967, a Correspondence Course Unit was established as another department in the Institute. The three Departments of the Institute were officially referred to as the Extra-Mural Division, the Adult Studies Centre and the Correspondence Course Unit. In 1983, the Institute of Adult Studies was accorded College status and became the College of Adult and Distance Education (CADE) following the recommendations of the Inspection and Visitation Committee which established six Colleges of the University of Nairobi. A new Faculty of External Degree Programme was then established comprising three departments - Educational Studies, Legal Studies, and Business Studies.
In 1988, the University of Nairobi re-introduced the Faculty of Education in the University and placed it in the College. The College was then re-organized, re-structured and renamed the College of Education and External Studies (CEES) with three faculties: Faculty of Education, Faculty of External Studies and Faculty of Social Sciences. In 2005 the Faculty of Social Sciences was disbanded and merged with other faculties in the University; the Faculties of External Studies and Education were renamed School of Continuing and Distance Education and School of Education, respectively; and a new centre, the Centre for Open and Distance Learning, was also created. The School of Continuing and Distance Education has three departments namely Educational Studies, Distance Studies, and Extra Mural Studies. The Department of Extra Mural Studies comprises three campuses in Nairobi, Mombasa, and Kisumu and nineteen (19) Learner Support Centres located all over Kenya. In 2003 the existing capacity in open, distance and e-learning was given a boost by the VLIR Project which was funded by the Belgium Government for capacity building on e-learning through training of PhDs in distance education. This was followed by the African Virtual University’s African Capacity Enhancement Programme (ACEP) training of six members of staff in ODeL mode of delivery, thus enhancing the University’s base of critical skills in open, distance and e-Learning. .
Fast forward to 2015: With the experience and expertise gained since 1953, the ODeL Campus was established in 2015 to consolidate all the gains made in the area of Open, Distance and e-Learning.


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