Laws programme team attend IAU Conference

Professor Jenny Hamilton and Patricia McKellar attended the International Association of Universities Conference in Nairobi from 17-19th November where the theme was Strategies for Securing Access and Success in Higher Education. The conference was attended by a wide range of leading academics and educational policy makers from across the world. The opening ceremony was addressed by the Vice President of Kenya,  Hon Kalonzo Musyoka who discussed investment in education in Kenya where 50% of the population are below the poverty line.  He identified areas where Higher Education(HE) in Kenya would be making changes including ensuring each new devolved county would have their own university bringing education closer to the people, encouraging alternative modes of education (in particular an Open University) and making some government funding available for university research projects. Other papers Jenny and Patricia attended included: Dr Frits Pannekoek, (President of Athabasca University, an open learning institution in Canada) who talked about distance education removing barriers to learning ( e.g. geography, inadequate grades, cultural, financial background and first generation in HE)  through the provision of good learning support and excellent quality teaching; Catherine Ngugi (Project Director OER Africa)  who discussed the development of OERs in Africa, Michael Wainaina(Associate Dean Kenyatta University) who considered what Africa could do to support gifted students who may never reach university; Linda Forde ( University of Cape Coast) who had carried out a study into the reasons for students’ voluntary withdrawal from University where the findings show that this usually involves a complex combination of inter-related factors rather than one single event; Christina Lloyd (Open University, UK)  who revealed how the OU supported students who were lacking in confidence and other resources (both financial and social) through learner advisory services.   Jenny and Patricia were also given a tour of Kenyatta University who hosted the conference and saw the extensive new buildings which have been constructed  including the post modern library- a truly spectacular learning resource centre. At the end of the conference The University of London was formally welcomed as a new member of the Association and were invited to the podium to receive a welcome gift. We look forward to a long and successful involvement with this educational network.