PanAf Project
ICT Research

PanAf Observatory
Get access to the Observatory

ICT and Educators
ICT and Learners
Online Repositories
Contact us

Unesco Institute for Statistics

African Virtual University




eLearning Africa



APRELI@ Community Website


School of Continuing and Distance Education, University of Nairobi

Friday 19 October 2007

For the last 50 years, the School of Continuing and Distance Education (SCDE) has been the leader in Open and Distance Learning (ODL) in Kenya. Its activities date back to 1953 when the first Department of Extra Mural Studies was founded in Makerere with a resident tutor for Kenya.

As the forerunner of the present University of Nairobi, the School has consistently maintained its position of leadership by being the torch bearer in the area of ODL. It has faithfully carried out its mandate of providing quality education and extending the University’s reach and hence, training opportunities to the wider population in our country.

The School offers academic programmes using Open and Distance Learning methods (ODL) which is a convenient mode of teaching and learning that does not constrain the student to be physically present in the same location as the instructor. Historically, ODL meant correspondence study. Today, audio, video, and computer technologies are the more common delivery modes, in addition to face-to-face instruction.

The key defining elements of ODL are:

• The separation of teacher and learner during the learning process.

• The use of educational media to unite teacher and learner and carry course content.

• The provision of two-way communication between teacher, tutor, or educational agency and learner.

ODL was originally a tool for helping Universities reach beyond the campus. However, newer technology has made distance education an important tool for bringing learning resources onto campus and for sharing resources among campuses. University of Nairobi therefore needs to see ODL not as a separate activity, but as part of an integrated approach toward achieving University-wide strategic goals.


The inception of the University of Nairobi is traced back to 1956, with the establishment of the Royal Technical College which admitted its first lot of A-level graduates for technical courses in April the same year. The Royal Technical College was transformed into the second University College in East Africa on 25th June, 1961 under the name Royal College Nairobi and was admitted into a special relations with the University of London whereupon it immediately began preparing students in the faculties of Arts, Science and Engineering for award degrees of the University of London.

Meanwhile, students in other faculties such as the Faculty of Special Professional Studies (later renamed Faculty of Commerce) and Faculty of Architecture continued to offer diplomas for qualifications of professional bodies/ institutions.

On 20th May 1964, the Royal College Nairobi was renamed University College Nairobi as a constituent college ofinter-territorial, Federal University of East Africa, and henceforth the enrolled students were to study for degrees of the University of East Africa and not London as was the case before. In 1970, the University College Nairobi transformed into the first national university in Kenya and was renamed the University of Nairobi.

In view of the rapid expansion and complexities in administration, the University underwent a major restructuring in 1983 resulting in decentralization of the administration, by creation of six (6) campus colleges headed by principals. The following are the names and respective locations of the colleges:

• College of Agriculture & Veterinary Sciences situated at Upper Kabete Campus

• College of Architecture & Engineering situated at the Main Campus

• College of Biological & Physical Sciences situated at Chiromo Campus

• College of Education & External Studies situated at Kikuyu Campus

• College of Health Sciences situated at the Kenyatta National Hospital

• College of Humanities and Social sciences situated at the Main Campus

• Faculty of Arts ; Parklands

• Faculty of Law; Lower Kabete Campus

• Faculty of Commerce

The University of Nairobi has embarked on integrating the use of ICTs in teaching. The main aspects of this initiative are to build the physical infrastructure that has seen all the units connected to the Internet and to purchase and install the ICT facilities. Secondly, the University has embarked on training its teachers on the use of ICTs in teaching, particularly in the use of e- learning. Currently, the University has trained over 140 teacher in the use of e-learning course development.

Contact us:

University of Nairobi, College of Education and External Studies, Faculty of External studies, Kikuyu P. O. Box 92 - , Kikuyu . Tel: 254-066-33135; 32017; 32020; 32021; 32029

Website: School of Continuing and Distance Education

Copyright©ERNWACA Regional Coordination 2007