It is not business-as-usual for institutions of higher learning. Kenya’s Strathmore University’s recent venture into the cloud has highlighted the urgency for learning institutions to embrace scalable technology.
Strathmore University, one of Kenya’s leading non-profit private universities, has partnered with Amazon Web Services (AWS) in a bid to make its high-quality education and resources accessible from anywhere in the world.
Stephen Momanyi, Director of ICT Services at Strathmore University says,
“In the last year, online education has become a major focus for us. Like everyone else, our digital transformation journey has been accelerated by the pandemic.”
“Although we began our conversation with Amazon Web Services in 2019, it was only in the last two years that we truly saw the need to expedite this process. We needed to scale and scale fast, but we had to be careful not to disrupt the education process in this migration.”
Speaking of the benefits the institution has so far seen, Momanyi says, “With the help of the right cloud solution, education has become truly borderless. Strathmore University has already noticed an increase of students studying from abroad. We have been ready for this evolution for quite some time, it just took the right cloud partner to guide us on this journey.”
With a campus of 8000 students and 1500 staff who now require a 24/7 education experience, Strathmore University needed an IT infrastructure that was flexible and scalable.
The on-premise hardware running the learning engine was aging and not able to keep up with the demand, and system uptime became a real concern.
According to Momanyi, “Scaling the IT infrastructure supporting our LMS system as and when necessary wasn’t an economically viable option with an on-premise set-up, but now the cloud is truly making this possible. Operating in a cloud environment now means that the university no longer has to worry about maintaining hardware and can scale with ease in an instant.”
Mr. Robin Njiru, Regional Lead, West, East Central Africa, Amazon Web Services added, “The pandemic dramatically set back learning more so in Sub-Saharan Africa, where technology uptake in learning institutions has been slow.”
“Once the pandemic hit and learning was disrupted, we saw conversations with educators move from discussing the possibilities of technologies in education to how technology could be harnessed immediately to reverse the adverse effects.” He adds.
“Strathmore University was the first education institution in Kenya to adopt and deploy workloads on the AWS cloud. We are very happy to see that our services have not only enabled them to transition to online learning but also scale their services beyond the Kenyan borders.”
“We invite more learning institutions, be it primary, secondary, or higher education institutions to collaborate with AWS and experience flexible, affordable technology solutions.”
The onset of cloud technology has transformed the capabilities of every industry. After the world was significantly disrupted by an unforeseen pandemic, this transformation was keenly felt in education, where long-term disruption could have had a negative impact on an entire generation of students. Cloud has transformed teaching and learning as we know it, fast-tracking education right from school through to universities and beyond.
“We couldn’t have done it without the help and support of the AWS team who understand the nuances of this process in a way that we never could. They have been an invaluable partner as we venture into uncharted territory. Considering this is the future of education, we hope all our colleagues in the sector forge a similar relationship as they evolve their offerings,” says Momanyi.