Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i has directed two public universities to shut their campuses in Tanzania and Rwanda.
Fresh details on the establishment of campuses in neighbouring countries by the Jomo Kenyatta University of Science and Technology (JKUAT) and Kenyatta University show Dr Matiang’i had expressed concern over their viability.
Copies of letters sent to councils of the two universities and seen by Saturday Standard show the CS pushed for closure of the four campuses.
“The ministry is concerned about the existence of the two campuses amidst the need for quality university education and prudent and responsible finance management in line with the Constitution of Kenya, the Universities Act and the Public Finance Management Act (2012),” said Matiangi in letters sent to the two universities.
The letter is sent to JKUAT council chairperson Paul Kanyari and Shem Migot of Kenyatta University.
“I urge the university council to deliberate on the way forward on the existence of the two campuses with a view to wind them up,” said Matiang’i in a letter dated May 9.
JKUAT and KU have one campus each in Kigali, Rwanda and Arusha, Tanzania.
The CS said the closure of the campuses will accord the university an opportunity to consolidate its resources within the existing campuses in Kenya.
The revelations come days after Tanzania Commission for University (TCU) advised the two universities not to admit fresh students to their Arusha campuses.
TCU is the equivalent of Kenya Commission for University Education (CUE).
TCU Acting Executive Secretary Eleuther Mwangeni said the decision to bar admissions was based on an audit that revealed some irregularities on quality.
“The report shows that there were several shortcomings in some of the universities that prompted the Commissions ban...on admission of the first year students for academic year 2017/18,” reads the public notice.
The two universities were part of 19 institutions in Tanzania barred from admitting first year students based on the audit report.
Process of withdrawing
KU Acting Vice Chancellor Paul Wainaina this week said plans are underway to shut the Tanzania and Rwanda campuses.
“We received written instructions on the same and KU was already working on the process of withdrawing and closing the campus which is still ongoing and will be completed in due course,” he said.
In his letter, Matiang’i instructed the councils of the two institutions to release a report on how the issue is being addressed.
“I expect to receive a detailed report from you as to how you have addressed the issue of campuses outside the country,” the CS said.
CUE chairman Chacha Nyaigotti Chaha yesterday said they are in talks with the universities to resolve the matter.
“We take notice and we have been discussing with the office of the Cabinet Secretary. It is our desire to redirect the sponsorship back to Kenya to address areas that ought to be managed,” said Prof Chacha.
Kenyatta University Kigali campus–which has been in the country for about two years– is yet to start operation as it awaits accreditation.
JKUAT Kigali campus was given six months to comply with the Rwanda higher education requirements or face closure.
A report by Rwanda Higher Education Council says the university failed to comply with critical higher education programmes standards.
“Suspend the delivery and further recruitment in all the programs until such a time that the institution demonstrates the adequacy to deliver the programs in line with audit recommendations within a period of six months or earlier from March 10, 2017,” reads a ministerial instruction issued to JKUAT.
This means that the university has until September to comply with the government requirements or face closure.
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“Failure to comply within the given time frame will lead to permanent closure of the programs,” reads a document signed by the Executive Director of Higher Education Council, Mugisha Innocent.
Matiang’i said he was deeply embarrassed by the audit reports.
“Can you imagine the embarrassment of being told your university has been closed on issues of quality? The humiliation of one public university suspended on grounds of issues we have been raising back in the country. We must address these issues firmly,” he said.