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Tricks Kenyan universities use to raise cash to bridge State funding gap

By Augustine Oduor | Updated Thu, March 2nd 2017 at 00:00 GMT +3

A new report has revealed unethical tricks used by universities to raise money.

The report shows how universities have been arbitrarily raising tuition fees and launching cheap academic programmes to attract more students, in total disregard of the set standards.

Other institutions have large and unmanageable classes taught using methods that do not allow for critical thinking.

The report further revealed some institutions of higher learning lowered admission requirements for certain courses, regardless of the ability of admitted students to pursue particular academic disciplines.'

The stunning details came days after the Commission for University Education (CUE) revealed various ways universities use to beat strict admission standards to net more students.

The quality audit inspection report for public and private universities released last week disclosed that some universities admit students without the minimum admission grade of C+.

The report further revealed some universities admitted students with credits and distinctions in diploma courses into degree programmes and enrolled them to second, third and even fourth academic years.

Others admitted local and foreign students based on diploma papers, which were not equated to Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC), while others deliberately flouted admission requirements to executive degree programmes.

Giving a public lecture during this year's universities exhibition at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa, Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i admitted that the sector is underfunded, forcing the institutions to resort to all means to raise funds.

"In Kenya, the Government's annual budget as of 2016 was Sh32.8 billion funding allocation to public universities, which is also inadequate and its distribution is not equitable, leaving many institutions in crisis," said Matiang'i.

He said universities have often exploited the funding gap to engage in unprofessional activities to raise more money.

"In view of the funding challenges experienced by universities in Kenya, many universities have resorted to using various methods of raising their revenue levels," he said.

Matiang'i accused some public universities of engaging in partial privatisation at the expense of poor students.

"Some increased tuition charges, resulting in limited access to university education, especially among students from low-income families," he said.

The CS said many universities had compromised on research, creativity and innovation to cut budgets.