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The participating institutions included MMUST, Kibabii University, St Paul’s University, East Africa Educational Publishers, Meru University, Murang’a University of Technology, Diversity Education Institute and Centre for Mathematics and Technology Education (CEMASTEA). STEMEIC2020 was speer- headed by MMUST’s own Director of International and Academic Linkages, Dr. Catherine Aura, with participants from partnering Universities and institutions. Other coordinators were: Alphose Furuma of Diversity Education Institute, Prof. Tom McConnell of Ball State University, USA, Prof. Andrey of Sam Houston State University, Texas USA, Dr. M. Niaz Asadullah of University of Malaya, Malaysia and Prof. Prof. Winnie Muchera from Ball State University, USA Presenters were drawn from across the world and included Prof. Winnie Muchera from Ball State University, USA, Prof. Murodhodiaeva Natalia Sergeevna from Russia, Prof. Tom J. McConnell from Ball State University and others from Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda and Rwanda. Prof. Winnie Muchera, who is a Kenyan by birth presented on ‘Teachers’ Sense of Efficacy amidst COVID-19

Speaking during the STEMEIC2020 conference at MMUST, Prof. Magoha reiterated the need for Universities to embrace digital learning and conduct virtual conferences for dissemination of critical knowledge to the country. “Our country is going nowhere unless we innovate. This summit is coming at a time when the national government is redirecting its energy towards the attainment of the BIG4 agenda. The national government will continue to invest in science and technology as key drivers of development” stated Prof. Magoha. He decried the huge disruption caused by the pandemic on the education system, adding that Universities must embrace virtual learning and that as researchers, they should guide the government through their findings.

The notable personalities who participated in this special conference included MMUST’s Chancellor, Dr. Peter Muthoka, MMUST’s Chairperson of Council, Dr. Jane Mutua and Mr John Awiti, representing Kisumu Governor, Prof. Peter Anyang Nyong’o. The well- organized, highly digital conference has effectively thrust MMUST into the global network of Universities that have successfully navigated the virtual terrain required in this COVID-19 era. MMUST has shown that even higher education institutions in Africa can lead global conversations and establish trends.

Attesting to the truth in the CS's words, MMUST’s Chancellor, Dr. Peter Muthoka expressed satisfaction with the manner in which the conference was organized. “MMUST is greatly honored to be the first to host the STEMEIC2020 conference. The theme of the conference resonates with the present world situation. The findings presented at this conference should be used to improve the livelihoods of people in this community and beyond. The entire world is finding ways of mitigating COVID-19 and I am happy that MMUST’s 15th graduation ceremony shall be conducted virtually” stated Dr. Muthoka. In Prof. Shibairo’s words “Let us use the new modes of learning, as the education sector has transformed. Let other people also learn from us”

“As a University of science and technology, MMUST is certainly stepping up its role in society by conducting such a conference. STEMEIC2020 has availed an opportunity for scholars, STEM specialists and practitioners to learn best practices and hopefully turn their presentations into implementable policies” – these were the words of MMUST Council Chairperson, Dr. Jane Mutua who was also physically present at this exciting conference. Concurring with her, Prof. Odeo Ipara, the Vice Chancellor of Kibabii University, put it aptly during one of the round table discussions at the conference when he said- “we have managed to navigate through the effects of COVID-19. Online teaching and learning are here to stay”

Whether COVID-19 stays or dies away, Universities must take up their roles as custodians of knowledge as well as purveyors of the same - that should be the mantra of all higher institutions of learning.

 By Lydia Anyonje [This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.]

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