Tackle challenges in public universities
The exchequerBy charging high fees for accredition of courses and programmes, CUE could be the cause of the financial problems. It borders on lack of heart to levy such fees on near insolvent institutions that public universities have become. Curiously, both the commission and these institutions are financed from the exchequer. If the commission needs money to run its functions, it should get it from the exchequer. The quality of service in most institutions of higher learning is lacklustre. They are understaffed. The situation is made worse in some private universities where lecturers are allowed to teach courses they did in undergraduate level. In the latter case, whenever CUE visits, they are given papers of part-time lecturers who are purported to be permanent staff. Due to poor monitoring and evaluation, the commission does not counter check what it is given on paper with what obtains on the ground. Can we thus give a thumbs-up to the commission for maintaining quality? Added to dilapidated infrastructure, low morale of the workforce caused by inept and colourless leadership, we get the source of the problem in our higher education. CUE needs to have enough personnel especially in finance, administration, pedagogy and infrastructure.
SEE ALSO :CUE shuts varsity new campusInstead it has concentrated in micro managing universities. The truth is that like many Kenyan commissions, it’s only keen on which side of the bread is buttered.
To mostOne of the mandates of higher learning institutions is research. By design, it is also a function of the commission.What has the latter done in supporting research undertaken in our institutions? That aside, do our universities support staff adequately to undertake research? Apart from studies done by post graduate students and donor funded research, do we have anything to show that has either been funded by the commission or our institutions of higher learning? Even where donors are chipping in, do we put merit in selection of recipients and those in charge of the programmes? Which criteria is used for both? In all, the level and quality of research in our institutions is wanting. What is CUE doing about duplication of programmes and atomisation of courses? Public universities are bombarded from time to time with the need to come up with market driven courses. To most, the solution has been duplication and atomisation. Even the language of varsity mandarins has changed. Students are referred to as clients while lecturers are called direct service providers. The talk on every manager’s lips is to commercialise the institution they head. Unfortunately, due to lack of vision, most of these desires have remained pep talk. But even where attempts are made, they become a fiasco due to poor leadership, mismanagement or corruption. Let us do away with commercialisation and put airtight mechanisms in place to stop pilferage of funds and wastage that is rampant in most institutions. [email protected]
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