The collaboration between Maseno and Chalmers has been running since 2009 and has four general objectives:
a) to provide opportunities for teachers at the individual level to develop their professional competencies and capacities;
b) to provide students with opportunities to experience different contexts and learning environments;
c) at the institutional level to develop both organisational capacity and curricula tailored to respond to the challenges of sustainable urban development; and
d) at both individual and institutional level to link master education students and staff to emerging research schools and research agendas in sustainable urban development at both Maseno and Chalmers, thus further increasing the competencies and capacities of the teaching staff.
From an academic perspective, the exchange program has so far resulted in development of new research agendas and subsequent collaboration in research, both for PhD students and senior researchers. These collaborations have been successful in attracting external funding and are now ongoing. Also, the exchange has emphasized the need to maintain a global perspective in courses at Chalmers, and also opened up for a discussion on the content of Kenyan planning education, for example regarding remaining colonial elements that are not suited to tackle current challenges in planning.
From a pedagogic perspective, the visiting Kenyan students and teachers have played an important role for further developing of how pluralism among students is managed and used as a resource in learning at Chalmers. Kenyan exchange teachers returning to the home university have been keen to try out new pedagogic experiences. However, the Kenyan university system is not always sufficiently adaptive to allow such ambitions. Also, visiting Kenyan students see their own learning from a new perspective after visiting Chalmers.
From an internationalization perspective, the exchange is complementary to Chalmers ambitions to be a global university, by positioning collaboration with Kenya on par with collaboration with e.g. China and the US. For Kenyan students and staff, the program provides a unique possibility for international experiences that are otherwise quite unreachable.
Jaan-Henrik Kain (Chalmers Architecture)
Partner at Maseno University:
Prof. George Mark Onyango, Deputy Vice Chancellor