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Admissions: How varsities breach rules to generate more income

By Augustine Oduor | Published Sat, February 25th 2017 at 00:00, Updated February 24th 2017 at 23:51 GMT +3
Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i. (Photo: Moses Omusula/Standard)

It has emerged that some local universities compromise admission standards to attract more students. In particular, universities abused the credit transfer systems to generate more money to bridge their budgetary gaps.

Details of how students worked to beat the admissions standard to complete studies within the shortest time possible have also been exposed.

The just-released universities quality audit has revealed that only 12 institutions have complied with the minimum admissions requirements for undergraduate programmes.

The report names University of Nairobi, Technical University of Mombasa, Pwani University, Kibabii University, Embu University and Kirinyaga University among the institutions that have complied with the 2014 admissions guidelines.

Muranga University, Strathmore University and Africa International University complete the small club of compliant institutions.

The report lists five ways universities and students employ to beat the strict admissions criteria, among them, admitting students with foreign O Level secondary school certificates without proper equation by the Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec).

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Students with credit and distinctions in diploma courses were admitted to second, third and four year classes.

Universities were also found to be admitting students into undergraduate programmes on the basis of pre-university, bridging and P1 certificates.

Some faith-based universities were admitting students who had done non-academic courses such as divinity and ministry into degree programmes.

Speaking during the launch of the audit report last week, Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i termed findings of the quality inspection of universities report as containing ‘serious challenges’ that must be corrected. “Cases where enrollments and degree awards have been done irregularly will be worked on and we shall ensure this report is implemented,” said Matiang’i.

The shocking revelations emerged when the Commission for University Education (CUE) sought to investigate the level of compliance with legal provisions and procedures that authorise credit transfers.

The findings were revealed when the Commission set out to investigate whether universities adhere to the minimum admissions requirements as stipulated in the Universities Standards and Guidelines (2014).

The guidelines state that to be admitted to an undergraduate programme, a mean grade of C+ for Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education or its equivalent as determined by Knec is required.

A Knec diploma or its equivalent can also get one university admission. Postgraduate diploma admissions are only available for those who have undergraduate degrees.

And for master’s degrees enrollment, a relevant bachelors degree is required. Doctorate programmes are only available for persons with relevant master’s degrees.

CUE also sought to find out if the institutions adhere to the 49 per cent limit of the number of core course units permissible for the transfers. Addressing university administrators at the same forum last week, CUE chairperson Chacha Nyaigotti-Chacha asked the institutions to follow the admission criteria.

“For example, some students were securing entry to undergraduate programmes using pre-university and bridging programmes, which are not recognised in law,” said Chacha.

The report finds that of the 70 universities, only eight have complied with the regulatory requirements on credit transfers.

“It is worth noting that of the eight, four were public universities, three were private universes and a constituent college of a private university,” says report.

Kenyatta University, Chuka University, Technical University of Kenya and the Cooperative University of Kenya are the only public universities that complied.