Benchmarking of computing curricula in Kenya
Mungai, Joseph N.
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This study aimed at investigating the quality of undergraduate computing curricula at Kenyan universities, how they compare locally and regionally with equivalent programs and how closely they meet the ICT sector needs. It was guided by four objectives i.e. to undertake an ontological mapping of computing curricula, to identify appropriate benchmarking criteria, to develop and test a benchmarking tool, and to investigate the alignment of these curricula to computing skills requirement. The study was deemed important by the plethora of academic computing programs of varying degrees of utility and credibility, which are a product of the escalating demand for computing education in Kenya given the development of Vision 2030 and the rapid growth of the ICT industry. To achieve its objectives, the study adopted a quantitative and qualitative cross-sectional descriptive survey of computing curricula offered locally (in Kenya) and regionally (from best practicing countries, USA and India). A sample of 70.3% was drawn from the target population for ontological mapping, Two research instruments were developed from a F··· conceptual framework i.e. a questionnaire and a document anaiysis framework that were administered to a cross-section of 11 public/private universities. The study established that there are 24 undergraduate computing programs under 6 titles, viz. BSc., BCom., BTech., BB., Bed. and BEng. The two most populous programs are BSc. Computer Science (CS) and BSc. Information Technology (IT), which were ~elected to help identify <two benchmarking criteria: Percent weight allocation of core hours within ACM knowledge areas and Relative performance capabilities of computing graduates. Using these criteria a benchmarking tool was developed and tested, which depicted disparities among the respondents in the percent weight allocation of core hours in CS programs. Similarly, it portrayed overlaps in the relative performance capabilities of CS and IT graduates, an outcome that queried the uniqueness of these programs. As such, the results indicated that the quality of the two computing programs is relatively insufficient. However, the study' further established that the computing curricula are aligned to meet the top 3 highly demanded computing skills i.e.-Networking, Software development and Internet skills albeit insufficient percent weight •allocation of core hours in Software development. The study therefore recommends further testing and refining of the established . benchmarking tool, the need to re-focus the computing programs and supports the call to institute a regulatory body and qualifications framework for computing education and skills.