Student of Business Information and Technology at Mount Kenya University, Nairobi: Joseph Gitau Kamau
Hello, my name is Joseph Kamau from Kenya. I was born on April 4th 1990 in Nairobi, Kenya. I am the first born of 5 in my family of four sisters. My family lives in Central Kenya, Kiambu County of Lari district in Kamuchege location. My parents are James Kamau Gitau and the late Jacinta Mugure Kamau. My Dad is a government employee under ministry of devolved government and is ranked as Chief (2) (a local leader in charge of our location). My late Mum was a secretary in early 90s but later retired to farming until she died in April 2012.
I graduated from Gathiruini boy’s high school. In 2010-2011 I participated in a Canada world youth/KENVO youth exchange where I stayed in Ottawa, Ontario for three months. In Ottawa, I made friends with many including my hosts who later fundraised for my Diploma education. I joined the Kenya institute of professional studies in April 2011 where I graduated with a Diploma in Information Technology. In April, 2013 I was admitted to Mount Kenya University to undertake a Bachelors degree in Business Information Technology (BBIT). From June 2012 to august 2012 I worked for an IT company as a computer programmer. Currently I am working in Kimende as
a youth representative in my constituency – a job I officially started on 15th may 2013.
I am also a local gospel artist by the name GK JOSEPH also on youtube.com check the GKJOSEPH1 channel. I currently am the
volunteer project coordinator for Kamuchege sea scouts, a roverscouting unit that works with KENVO (Kijabe Environment Volunteers) in environmental matters and community development.
Q & A with Joseph Kamau
Why do you want to continue with your education?
For over a decade now Kenyan education has and is still growing extensively. The growing economy requires well trained, experienced and highly qualified personnel in the job sector. This has made Kenyans advance their knowledge and education in order to fit in the job sector and to contribute to the growth of the national economy. Personally, I have considered these realities, and through my experience I have learned of my need to advance my education in order to obtain my desired career as well as be productive in the economy. Unfortunately, diploma level education is not enough for what I want to do in the Kenyan job sector; one needs at least an undergraduate degree in order to have adequate skills in the IT sector as well as in other key economy based sectors of expertise. Reasons for my career upgrade are based on emerging issues and trends that the global economy dictates.
How will your community benefit from you gaining this education?
Kenya’s positive innovations that are currently ongoing are running under a plan known as KENYA VISION 2030. The plan works to ensure a sustainable national economy. Technology is one of the key pillars in this plan and students are being encouraged to embrace the IT sector as it is a strong hold to the vision. Many institutions and businesses both local and national are looking for more advanced technology to ensure that they are inline with the inevitable growth. I will focus on advancing my education so I can contribute to the local and national growth in my community from my village to my country. The degree course is wide and has preference to both business and technology allowing one to become equipped with managerial and technical skills to match to community growth. I can help with such initiatives such as a small dairy farming cooperative in my hometown, and I will aim to work on other projects that will benefit most from my skills and will add to the betterment of the entire nation. My goal is to become a business IT manager and a skillful computer programmer to ensure a positive change for my village and internationally.
How will you be able to help ensure environmental sustainability with your future plans? Why do you think environmental sustainability is important?
Environment involves our surroundings and surely it is what we live in all our lifetimes. When the environment is at stake the entire world is also at stake. Environment sustainability is the process that many know not how to handle. During my time in the Canada World Youth youth exchange program I learned a lot about environmental issues. It is then that I came to know the true value that the environment holds starting from clean water, forestation and environmental awareness campaigns etc. I came to know that it is an obligation of each and every individual to ensure a healthy environment in his/her surroundings. As a scout leader and with KENVO, I have been able to plant over 1,500 trees in my community. In the future I plan to initiate similar projects to other groups, friends and family. I am very dedicated in helping to ensure environmental sustainability whether in my work or as a volunteer.
Please explain in detail any volunteer experience you have. Will you continue/start to volunteer – if so doing what? Why do you think it is important to volunteer in your community and at large?
I have volunteered for many organizations and it’s something I still do. It started when I was as young as 10 when I joined scouting. There, I participated in tree planting projects, charity work, health campaign walks and marathons all through until the age of 18 when I finished high school. I then joined the Canada World Youth/KENVO program where I volunteered for over six months with many organizations such as KENVO, CWY, AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL and HABITAT FOR HUMANITY. Since then after the program I have continued to volunteer in my scouting group and outside to the community in charity work, tree planting projects, environmental awareness campaigns and organizing national holiday events. Volunteering is something that I will continue to do as I believe it is so important. It is through volunteering that I can really give back to the community/nation and also gain experience to allow me to succeed in work endeavors.
Why would it not be possible for you to gain an education without outside help to pay towards your school fees?
University education in Kenya is extremely costly even to middle earning Kenyans. Savings from my current job’s salary and other sources will only be able to cater for my school materials costs, transport, accommodation and food expenses. My savings from May 2013 till September 2013 will similarly only be enough to cater for the statutory fees charged once on admission. It follows that I am completely unable to contribute for the tuition fees of (between $700 and $750 per semester of 8 semesters depending on exchange rates) and even if I can get a student loan it will still leave me to pay about $475-$500 per semester, which I don’t have.
Is your immediate or extended family able to contribute anything to your educational costs?
My father, the only able family member will be able to support my education dream by raising $50 per semester of eight i.e. $400 for the entire degree program.
Are you able to obtain a student loan, scholarship, or subsidy from any government or agency?
I submitted an education loan request to Higher Education Loans board and I was told that I can be given around $200 per semester as a loan payable on small installments once I graduate.
Do you have any savings to contribute to your education costs?
My monthly salary is 20,000 Kenya shillings i.e. $250. My monthly expenses i.e. house rent, upkeep and food run about $187.50 meaning I am able to save some $62.50 per month. Also I will at times get some allowances from my scouting project i.e. around $25 per month. Total savings will then be $87.50 per month. The transport costs to school in Nairobi will go for about $75 per month. Books and other class requirements can be catered for by the remaining $12.50 per month of the total savings of $87.50 per month. I will be working even after I join school. I have taken the part-time mode of study to allow full time work. With my monthly job savings and from other sources i.e. scouting work, I will be able to cater for my accommodation, food, transport and writing materials pretty well through the semesters. From May 2013 till September 2013 I will save for statutory fees and other involved costs. During the breaks between semesters I will save towards any other costs the school will have as well as overcome the unforeseen costs that may arise. All the same I won’t be able to raise my tuition/school fees. This is precisely the reason as to why I request for your assistance on my tuition/school fees throughout my degree program starting from September 2013.
Below is the course outline for Bachelor of Science in business information technology (BBIT):
The degree provides students with the opportunity to expand their knowledge in both business and information technology fields.
Business majors include:
• Administrative management
• Human resource management
• International business management and leadership
• Supply chain management
• Tourism management
• Management mathematics
• Principles of management
• Business statistics
• Business law
• Foundation of mathematics
• Micro economics
• Communication skills
Information technology majors include:
• Applied computer science
• Information systems development
• Networking and security
• Information technology management
• Computer organization
• Fundamental of computer systems
• Computer operating systems
• Computer programming