By Luke Anami
This is because their qualifications are not recognised by employers in Kenya because the education systems of the EAC partner States— including Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi — are different from that of Kenya. Further, the curriculum, and the number of years taken to do the same course on the EAC countries is also different.
And now the regional private sector apex body East African Business Council (EABC) and Inter- University Council for East Africa (IUCEA) say the problem will only worsen unless the quality of university education is harmonised across the region.
“We have received complains that certain graduates are not employable from this region because the quality of their education is not comparable; Especially, Kenyan students who study in Uganda have failed to secure employment. This is because though the degree course may be the same, but the course content is different,” Prof Mayunga Nkunya, Executive Secretary of IUCEA said at a press conference held last week in Nairobi.
He singled out business courses, which he said go by similar names yet their course content is vastly different.
“Some call it Bachelor of Commerce, others BBA or Business Management. But while the course title is similar, the course content is different. We may not harmonise the period it takes to complete a degree course but a qualification framework will spell out the benchmarks for teaching such a course,” Prof Nkunya explained.
The different education systems employed in all the five EAC partner states of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi is also posing a challenge.
Most of the education systems used in the East African region are based on the three-cycle model inherited from the colonial masters. However, Kenya follows an 8-4-4 system, while Tanzania and Uganda follow a 7-4-2-3 system of education. So while a Bachelors degree in Kenya takes at least four years, the same degree takes at least three years in Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi.
As a result, public universities in Uganda require Kenyan candidates to undergo Advanced Secondary (A-level) studies for two years, while the private universities insist on a bridging course of between six-nine month before the candidates can join the institutions. Additionally, in Tanzania, the Kenyan and Ugandan students are required to sit the Matriculation exam and this has in turn limited the number of foreign students going to study in Tanzania.
“We may not have to change the 8-4-4 system to suit other systems, but grading, course content, and the specified period it takes to complete a particular course should be standardised across the region. This is what we are working on,” Prof Nkunya explained.
- AAR and hospital ‘treated me harshly’ in my hour of need
- New technology could end Kenya’s historic land woes
- Which way for the civil society in today’s Kenya?
- Achebe does not need any foreign decorations, more so in his death
- Africa supports President Uhuru on Hague
- Why women, youths and Church should drive truth team’s agenda