- A recent survey shows that 63 per cent of Kenyan university students have used Generative AI for their college/university studies. Of those students, 66 per cent said they input a question into GenAI tools once a day or more.
- About 48 per cent of students surveyed are calling for the involvement of human expertise in generating answers.
- At the same time, of the students using GenAI for studies, 39 per cent are concerned about receiving incorrect or inaccurate information.
An estimated 63 per cent of Kenyan students report using generative AI (GenAI) for their college or university studies—the highest percentage among the countries surveyed globally, surpassing Saudi Arabia and Spain, which both tied at 62 per cent.
Among those students, 66 per cent input a question into GenAI tools once a day or more. While Kenyan students view GenAI as a helpful learning support tool, there is still room for improvement, with 48 per cent of all those surveyed calling for the involvement of human expertise in generating answers. Additionally, well over a third (39 per cent) of the 63 per cent who claim to have used GenAI in their studies express concerns about receiving incorrect or inaccurate information.
Kenyan university students project GenAI assisted workplace
The survey also reveals that the vast majority (94 per cent) of Kenyan students polled believe their education is preparing them well for the job market—an increase from 80 per cent in 2022. Similarly, 81 per cent of Kenyan students believe their degree will be equally or more useful in an AI-assisted workplace, ranking highest after Canada and Saudi Arabia (both 79 per cent).
The survey further highlights Kenyan students’ desire for lower tuition fees: 84 per cent of surveyed students express a preference for their university/college degree to take a shorter time to complete if it were more affordable, the highest percentage among all the countries, alongside Malaysia (84 per cent). A majority (78 per cent) also express a desire for more online learning options if it results in lower tuition fees.
These new findings are part of the research published today by Chegg.org, the non-profit arm of the education technology company Chegg. The data is based on in-depth opinion polling by Yonder Consulting of over 11,000 post-secondary students aged 18-21 years across 15 countries, including 510 students in Kenya.
The survey’s questions cover students’ perspectives on learning in the age of AI, skills and careers, as well as their health, well-being, and social attitudes. Chegg.org initiated its Global Student Survey in 2021 during COVID lockdowns and has conducted a survey every year since. The first survey was published in February 2021, and the second in April 2022.
Room for Improvement on GenAI
“Although students are starting to adopt GenAI to support their learning, it’s clear they see room for improvement. Students want GenAI learning tools that provide accurate, reliable study support. Crucially, according to our survey, a top priority for improving the technology among all those surveyed in Kenya was the involvement of human expertise. An analysis of our internal research found that students are mainly using GenAI for writing tasks, and are not yet fully leveraging the technology for STEM subjects,” said Heather Hatlo Porter, Head of Chegg.org and Chief Communications Officer of Chegg, Inc.
A significant majority (82 per cent) of all surveyed students in Kenya assert that, given the availability of free GenAI tools, colleges/universities should alter their approach to student assessment—the highest percentage among the countries polled. Within this 82 per cent, 44 per cent advocate for better guidance on the acceptable use of GenAI tools in assessments, while 43 per cent propose an increase in oral assessments.
Additionally, a majority of all surveyed students (72 per cent) believe their university/college should actively promote the use of GenAI tools for assessed work. Simultaneously, 84 per cent express a desire for their curriculum to incorporate training in AI tools relevant to their future careers.
Among the 63 per cent of Kenyan students who have utilized GenAI for their studies, 47 per cent attest that it enhances the interactive nature of learning, 45 per cent believe it accelerates their learning process, and 42 per cent feel it enables a more creative approach to learning. Within this 63 per cent, 58 per cent state they used GenAI for researching assignments and projects, while 53 per cent utilized it to comprehend a concept or subject.
Empowerment when using GenAI
Within the same group of 63 per cent, Kenyan university students express empowerment as the predominant emotion when using GenAI for their studies, with 51 per cent indicating that they mainly feel empowered—the highest percentage among the countries polled. Nearly a quarter (23 per cent) state that curiosity is their primary emotion when using AI for their studies.
Those Kenyan students using GenAI for study also report various changes in their learning since incorporating these tools: 51 per cent assert that their understanding of complex concepts or subjects has improved, and 46 per cent indicate an enhancement in their writing skills—the highest among all countries surveyed.
“By elevating the voices of students and listening to their concerns, we can gain profound insights into how to support them. Crucially, as we enter this new age of AI, we will better understand how to harness the full potential of this technology, enabling students to learn how they want, what they want, when they want, and in their preferred format – which will ultimately help them on their lifelong learning journey,” added Heather Hatlo Porter.
“Our Global Student Survey also shows that students around the world are stressed, lack sleep, and have trouble meeting new friends. There is a pressing need for robust mental health support, so learners can make the most of their education and face the future with confidence.”
The survey results reveal that an overwhelmingly high percentage of Kenyan students (89 per cent), taking all factors into account, report feeling happy—a close second to Indonesia (90 per cent) and an increase from 75 per cent in 2022. Additionally, 80 per cent of Kenyans surveyed express a sense of optimism.
However, the survey also highlights that Kenyan students encounter various mental health challenges, with academic burnout being the most prominent (41 per cent). Other challenges include experiencing daily feelings of anxiety (37 per cent) and insufficient sleep (35 per cent). Nevertheless, these challenges are comparatively lower when contrasted with other countries included in the survey.