Experience and study outcomes of Kenyan students pursuing higher education in the UK

  • Salome Wanjiku Gichura

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    The growth in numbers of Kenyans seeking study opportunities in international settings has increased in the last ten years. Despite this growth, there is a clear and growing epistemological gap on student’s expectations and their experience, practice by host institutions and countries and how this impacts on students experience and study outcomes. To gain knowledge in this grey area, a case study design using a cross-sectional and a mixed data collection method was adopted. Data was collected in three stages beginning with a survey where questionnaires (N=300) were administered to Kenyan students pursuing higher education in the UK. In stage two, interviews were conducted with Kenyan students, Kenyan education policy makers and staff from UK universities. Stage three involved analysis of policy documents. Findings showed that many of the students had a positive study and living experience while for others it was negative characterised by study extension, leaving without an award, dropped out or did not socially adapt owing to practical challenges associated with living abroad. Government systems to support students during the pre-departure phase were lacking and those that provided information to potential students had an economic interest in their recruitment. Evidently, studying abroad for some was based on uniformed decision making. On arrival in the UK, some of the students did not use the university’s and Kenya Government support services as they were not aware that they were available. The main implication of this study is the need for a comprehensive policy and a code of conduct to guide the activities of various stakeholders involved in international education in Kenya, provision of support systems that meet the needs of international students’ and sensitisation of students to their use and availability. Key recommendations that aim to enhance the quality of experience of Kenyan students are made. This is to ensure the realisation of the potential benefits of an international education to the Kenya Government, UK institutions and the students. The recommendations relate to induction in Kenya and the UK, sensitisation, monitoring and information dissemination prior and during the study period. A department to coordinate and manage international education in Kenya is proposed with more stakeholder involvement.
    Date of Award2010
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Coventry University
    SupervisorPaul Blackmore (Supervisor) & Andrew Turner (Supervisor)

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