Industry Based Learning Improves Skills and Training of Undergraduate Engineering Programmes in Kenya: Case Study of the University Of Nairobi

Cleophas Ondieki, Gerald N. Kimani, Edward K. Tanui

Abstract

Employers, especially those in industries, have lately been complaining on the preparedness of university engineering graduates to take up employment. This is despite the fact that universities require engineering undergraduates to undertake Industry Based Learning which is a form of attachment that introduce them to field of work and practical skills while still undertaking their undergraduate course. An investigation into the perceptions of alumni of University of Nairobi and their employers on the effectiveness of the Industrial Based Learning programme was made. Alumni who graduated with Bachelor of Science in Electrical and Electronic Engineering degree between 2007 and 2011 participated in the study. Using case study survey designs, a sample of 265 respondents was accessed from a population of 417 graduates through snowball method. Thirty employers were purposefully sampled and 20 were accessed. In addition,5 out of 48 academic and technical staff of Department of Electric and Electrical Engineering answered the questionnaires. Questionnaires were self-administered to the respondents at their place of work. For respondents who were in far-flung areas, questionnaires were emailed followed with telephone discussions. The alumni rated the Industry Based Learning as unsatisfactory largely due to the University’s inadequate assistance in securing attachments for students and failure of lecturers to adequately supervise students during attachments. The employers perceived Industry Based Learning as a critical experience that improved employees’ productivity. One of the conclusions was that undergraduate attachment was important for it provided a valuable opportunity for gaining necessary skills and training for subsequent use in employment. A major recommendation was the need to formulate an Industry Based Learning/internship policy in the University.

Keywords

Industry Based Learning, Attachment, Internship Policy, Skills, Curriculum, Profession

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