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International Inter-institutional Partnerships in Higher Tourism Education: The Case of Moi University, Kenya

International Inter-institutional Partnerships in Higher Tourism Education: The Case of Moi University, Kenya

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Though internationalization of higher education is now well documented in the developed nations, there is a dearth of literature in this area in Africa. In Kenya, the few studies available focus on inter-institutional partnerships between higher institutions of learning offering tourism education and so little is known about these partnerships. And yet Kenya being a leading tourist destination in Africa, it has increased engagements with other parts of the world including academic partnerships motivated by its position in tourism. Consequently, Kenyan universities have introduced academic programs in tourism and hospitality which are now attracting more inter-institutional partnerships. Using the case of Moi University, this study seeks to establish the extent to which staff and student exchanges resulting from these partnerships serve the interest of the collaborating departments in Kenyan universities.
Though internationalization of higher education is now well documented in the developed nations, there is a dearth of literature in this area in Africa. In Kenya, the few studies available focus on inter-institutional partnerships between higher institutions of learning offering tourism education and so little is known about these partnerships. And yet Kenya being a leading tourist destination in Africa, it has increased engagements with other parts of the world including academic partnerships motivated by its position in tourism. Consequently, Kenyan universities have introduced academic programs in tourism and hospitality which are now attracting more inter-institutional partnerships. Using the case of Moi University, this study seeks to establish the extent to which staff and student exchanges resulting from these partnerships serve the interest of the collaborating departments in Kenyan universities.

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Published by: World-Academic Journal on Oct 19, 2013
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WORLD ACADEMIC JOURNAL OF BUSINESS & APPLIED SCIENCES-MARCH-SEPTEMBER 2013 EDITION
155
International Inter-institutional Partnerships in Higher TourismEducation: The Case of Moi University, Kenya
 
Beatrice H. Ohutso ImbayaDepartment of Tourism Management,Moi University, P O Box 3900 – 30100Eldoret, KenyaAccepted 6 August, 2013AbstractThough internationalization of higher education is now well documented in the developed nations, there is a dearthof literature in this area in Africa. In Kenya, the few studies available focus on inter-institutional partnerships between higher institutions of learning offering tourism education and so little is known about these partnerships.And yet Kenya being a leading tourist destination in Africa, it has increased engagements with other parts of theworld including academic partnerships motivated by its position in tourism. Consequently, Kenyanuniversities have introduced academic programs in tourism and hospitality which are now attracting moreinter-institutional partnerships. Using the case of Moi University, this study seeks to establish the extent to whichstaff and student exchanges resulting from these partnerships serve the interest of the collaborating departmentsin Kenyan universities.Key Words: Inter-institutional, Collaborations, Internationalization, Tourism education
1.Introduction
 Recently, there is an increasing focus on higher education collaboration and exchange within regions, butwithout withdrawing the attention given to inter-regional cooperation in higher education (Abebaw, n.d.). Theunderlying strategies are to promote international education programs and encourage staff and student exchange programs with foreign institutions. In the context of globalization and the rapid changes experienced in higher education (HE) in the last few decades world-wide, internationalization of HE is now well documented, especiallyin the developed nations. Various partnerships and international research networks linking Higher EducationInstitutions (HEIs) in the global North and South have emerged, as an expression of higher education’scontribution to international development and of the need to bridge the North/South knowledge divide
.
Such
Journal of Tourism Management AUGUST 2013 VOL.1, No,6
 
WORLD ACADEMIC JOURNAL OF BUSINESS & APPLIED SCIENCES-MARCH-SEPTEMBER 2013 EDITION
156
 partnerships have contributed to enhanced human and infrastructural capacity, as well as to a better integration of the Southern partners in international exchanges (Nakabugo
et al.,
n.d.). Thus, inter-institutional alliances or  partnerships are of increasing importance in higher education (Shaw & Holmes, 2005).The motives for the formation of these alliances include resource needs for assets or capabilities which theuniversity does not possess, such as the need to cross organization boundaries to create interdisciplinary teams(Shaw & Holmes, 2005). This suggests that such linkages and inter-institutional collaborations constitute thefuture of higher education. However, despite the benefits of inter-institutional collaborations, myriad of problemshave emerged including management and financial limitation, that this study using primary and secondary data purposes to discuss and through SWOT analysis make tangible recommendations for effective collaborations inview of the benefits (Cultural exchange, networking, academic advancement among others) that are associated with such collaborations.In addition, generally in Africa, and particularly in Kenya, there is a dearth of literature in this area,especially as it relates to internationalization of higher education in tourism. Yet Kenya is one of the leadingtourist destinations in Africa. A position that has led to increased engagements with other parts of the world.Even academic partnerships have been motivated by this position of Kenya and thus Kenyan universities haveintroduced programs in tourism and hospitality which are now attracting more inter-institutional partnerships. InKenya, it is Moi University (MU) which spearheaded higher education in tourism and it is therefore arguable thata study of the MU case is representative of Kenya as a whole. Few studies available, in Kenya, (Munavu, 2004;Jowi, 2009; Ooro, 2009) have focused mainly on internationalization of higher education in general. Likewise,little is known regarding higher education inter-institutional partnerships in tourism education and hence thisconstitutes the gap that this paper endeavors to fill.
2.Literature Review
2.1Partnerships and Collaborations in Higher Education
In HE, internationalization was for a long time mainly considered as the cross-border mobility of individualstudents (de Wit, 2002; Van der Wende, 2001). In the last three decades, however, the conceptual understandingof internationalization has broadened, and started to include many international activities. This includescollaboration in teaching, research, and other projects; mobility of students and scholars; inclusion of international dimensions into the curriculum; recruitment of foreign students, establishing campuses in foreigncountries; and countries collaborative works toward common frame of reference (Oyewole, 2009; Teferra &Knight, 2008).Previously, development organizations worldwide have endeavored to facilitate North – South universitycollaborations, to help tackle issues that mainly affect the South, such as hunger, ill-health, illiteracy, conflict,human rights abuse, and environmental degradation (Samoff & Carrol, 2002; Bradley, 2007). However, asindicate by Nakabugo
et al
., ( n.d.), though previous North-South partnerships have contributed significantly toenhancing research capacity in the South (Gaillard, 1994), a number of weaknesses have emerged. These include,among others, the fact that such partnerships’ impact on research capacity building has often related more toindividual capacity building rather than at an institutional level (Velho, 2002). Katz and Martin (1997)distinguish between collaboration at different levels and show that inter-institutional and internationalcollaboration need not necessarily involve inter-individual collaboration. Lariviere, Gingras and Archambault(2006), concur that there are two types of collaboration: international and inter-institutional.In addition, the rationale for most North-South partnerships has been narrowly focused on addressingcapacity gaps in the South and less on the learning and building of capacity within Northern counterparts (King,
 
WORLD ACADEMIC JOURNAL OF BUSINESS & APPLIED SCIENCES-MARCH-SEPTEMBER 2013 EDITION
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2008); they have been largely managed from outside the developing countries, and their sustainability has beendonor-dependent. While principles of good partnership practice have existed for decades (for example, United  Nations, 1979), the actual nurturing of mutually-beneficial North-South partnerships still remains a challenge notleast because the ‘…asymmetry between partners remains the principal obstacle to productive researchcollaboration’ (Bradley, 2007:2).Kritz (2006) states that, in the past, international research collaboration, mainly, involved individual facultymembers from developed countries travelling to other developed countries or to a developing one for researchcollaboration. On those trips, the visiting foreign faculty member may have delivered lectures or participated inseminars at the host institution but the main purpose of the visit was to collaborate with research colleagues inanother country. On the other hand, Khaemba, (2004) explains that the objective of student exchange is to enablethe university students to gain a better understanding of the cultural, economic and social systems of thecountries of the host institutions, while staff exchange is seen as a strategy in working towards international best practices in teaching. Presently, these Cross Boarder Higher Education (CBHE) initiatives are growing rapidlyand they will allow students in different countries to do their tertiary studies in their homelands or neighboringcountries in their regions (Kritz, 2006) or in other continents. Nevertheless, in the context of higher tourismeducation, exchange programmes for staff and students can act as excellent experiential learning engagement thataccords the beneficiaries the kind of exposure needed to understand the intricate dynamics of tourism both atdomestic and international level.
2.2History of Tourism Education in Kenya
The history of tourism education dates back to 1969 when the first Hotel Management course in Kenya wasintroduced at the Kenya Polytechnic, Nairobi. Since the hotel management focus of this course was narrow, therewas still need for broader training and education to cover other areas in tourism. This led to the establishment of Kenya Utalii College (KUC) as a joint project between the Swiss and Kenyan governments in 1975. Thereafter a number of private and public middle level training were established to provide tourism training in specific skillfor operatives in various subsectors.Unfortunately, the private provision was so heavily commercialized that there were calls for regulation and aharmonization of both curricula and qualifications (Sindiga, 1994; Mayaka, 1999; Mayaka & King, 2002). It isin view of these limitations that the presidential committee on employment saw a need for training of tourism officers at university level (Kenya, 1991).
2.3Higher Education in Tourism in Kenya
In Kenya, Tourism training and education at university level was initiated at MU’s Chepkoilel Campus in1992 as a result of a presidential committee report. Later the Moi University Department of Tourism (MUDOT)was established to meet the industry demand for trained employees in the tourism sector and to undertakeresearch to promote the sustainable development of tourism in Kenya.In an attempt to fill a gap in resource and staff training needs, MUDOT forged collaborations withinternational institutions of higher learning. For instance, a collaboration between MUDOT and the Institute for Service Management of the CHN University of Professional Education in Leeuwarden (the Netherlands) and Wageningen University and Research Centre (the Netherlands) provided financial investments, workshops, shortterm and long term strategic planning assistance as well as Master and Ph.D. training to Kenyan students. Thiscollaboration also assisted in the founding of a research centre; the training of staff at Master and Ph.D. level; thedevelopment and implementation of a curriculum on problem Based Learning (PBL); the establishment of adocumentation and computer centre; and the establishment of an African Chapter of the Association for Tourism

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