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Fred Matiang'i gives varsity commission until Jan 31 to put its house in order

By Graham Kajilwa | Published Wed, January 4th 2017 at 00:00, Updated January 3rd 2017 at 22:43 GMT +3
Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i is cracking the whip on universities. [Photo:Moses Omusula/Standard]

CS Fred Matiang'i cracks whip on CUE over rot in universities, a tough-talking Dr Matiang’i blames the commission for what he describes as deteriorating status of university education in the country.

The commission now has until end of January to clear the mess by providing data on students’ qualifications, management of students’ records, the size of classes and guidelines for administration of the various academic programmes.

In a letter obtained by The Standard from Matiang’i addressed to CUE Chairman Chacha Nyaigoti Chacha dated December 22, 2016, Matiang’i detailed how the commission had left the sector unregulated.

“Concerns, complaints, petitions and representations reaching my office suggest all is not well within the public and private universities in Kenya,” wrote Matiang’i.

He said he had reports that some universities were not adhering to the legal framework for university education, and, more specifically, the set standards and guidelines.

KENYAN’S CONCERNS

“Specific concerns have been raised in respect to some of the irregularities of the universities admitting ineligible students into their degree programmes, irregularities in the examination systems,” he wrote.

Other concerns raised include incidents of students missing examination marks; graduation and certification of students who have not attained requirements set by specific academic programmes and in some areas, running unaccredited academic programmes.

The CS also says he has reports of eligible students in universities failing to graduate for unknown and unexplained reasons.

“The net effect of the poor state of the university sector is a reflection of, to say the least, the ineffectiveness of your commission (CUE) to carry out its mandate, as the sole legal body charged with the responsibility of ensuring quality in university education,” he wrote.

At the expiry of the deadline, CUE is also supposed crack down on rogue universities and submit a comprehensive report for action to be taken.

Matiang’i wants the report on his desk by January 31, 2017.

Apart from evidence, clear action points and recommendations, the report must outline the CUE’s short and long-term plans detailing how to restore order in the sector in three years.

In the hard-hitting letter, Matiang’i takes time to remind the commission of its responsibilities as outlined in the Universities Act of 2012, among them, advising the sitting CS on policy relating to university education as well as developing policy and criteria to guide admissions into universities.

Others are monitoring and evaluation on the status of university education systems, promoting set standards and ensuring relevance in quality of university education; and undertaking regular inspection of the universities to ensure compliance with set guidelines.

“I now require you submit to me, by January 31, 2017, a comprehensive report on universities in Kenya, including provision of evidence, clear action points, and recommendations,” directed the CS.

Matiang’i also wants to know the status of students’ qualification in all universities.

“To what extent are the universities complying with the admission criteria into the university programmes?” he writes.

He is also demanding answers on how efficient is the management of students’ records in the institutions.

“Are there credible supporting documents for each of the students enrolled? Have any unqualified students been admitted to or awarded degree or diplomas in the past five years?” writes the CS.

The CS also wants security audit reports of all universities and a report on the Biometric Identification Systems, which he says are long overdue.

In November 2016, the CS had ordered closure of 11 campuses affiliated  to Kabarak, Kisii and Laikipia universities, citing concerns on standards.