More than 60 education institutions from nearly 20 countries around the world have gathered at the Nairobi International Education Fair. The annual four-day event offers the visitors, predominantly high school and university students, information on pursuing studies abroad. CRI's Nairobi correspondent Wei Tong has more.
This year's education fair, themed 'Promoting Entrepreneurship in Education' is the leading education and careers fair in the east African region.
As Kenya is making all-out efforts to develop the country as the hub of the east African region, the government is encouraging more qualified students to take the chance to study abroad.
It'll help improve their 'soft skills' so that the students can contribute to the development of all the east African region in the future.
Manager of the Education Fair, Esman Obonyo, explains.
"To promote entrepreneurship in education, this event is going to be the biggest where Kenya is going to train more Kenyans that we can export to other east African region. That is what we are aiming to attend that more colleges, as they train more students, they may not be offered enough job opportunities by the government, but they can have jobs outside Kenya that is to serve this region, like Uganda and COMESA region. We'll come and hire teachers from here, for example, all at manpower that have been trained by these colleges. That is what we intend to promote."
Esman says the fair is actually a forum where universities, both local and international, can showcase the programs that are available to school-leavers, students, parents, teachers - particularly career teachers - to sample what they have to offer.
One of the highlights of the fair is the participation of China Universities Advising Center.
Esman says China was invited to participate in the fair after the east Asian country became a partner in Kenya's development.
Meanwhile, Kenya is eager to change the current situation whereby a majority of students choose English-speaking countries as their first destination.
Director for the China desk of the fair, Muhammad Ali Mian, pursued his studies in China.
He says compared to English-speaking countries, China boasts its own advantages for Kenyan students.
"Now Chinese universities are cost-friendly. I will give you an example. If a student wants to study engineering in UK, US or Australia, it will cost them 20,000 dollars. I am just talking about the tuition fee for one year. Chinese universities, the program in English will be 4,000 dollars. So five times cheaper. So the Chinese universities provide quality education with being cost-friendly, which makes it really marketable in Africa. Bearing in mind right now, these are initial stages in Africa that now African students are knowing China from education. Once the message is spread, there going to be even more students from Africa coming to China."
Muhammad says currently there are around 180 students each year coming from different parts of Africa to study in China in various fields and subjects. And an increasing number of Kenyans are enquiring about how to pursue studies in China. Everyday they receive over 120 visitors.
Timothy Ngundi is one of them. He has the idea of studying marketing in China.
"It is enlightening. It gives us much about education information in China. Most people here they don't know much about China's education. There are some colleges taught in English there. Some courses are offered in English language, which is nice. So I am considering going there."
Mohamed Ahmed is a high school student in Kenya. He has been admitted to China's Wenzhou Medical College. He has great expectations for his future career in China.
"It has really brought my dream to reality. I wanted to study medicine. Since it is not very possible here, I got the chance to go to a university in China. It was really a very good idea. I did not go to China before but I heard it is a very friendly country with friendly people and diverse culture. It is very good to study there. I hope I will complete my course there."
The education fair manager Esman Obonyo says Kenya's primary and secondary schools have high enrolment rate so there is likely to be more students having the chance to studying abroad after graduation.
Therefore, the Kenyan government is planning to change the event into a biannual gathering so as to attract more students to come for career consultation.
For Beyond Beijing, this is Wei Tong from Nairobi, Kenya.