The proposal by a section of education policy stakeholders to have the number of public universities reduced or merged has been opposed.
Maendeleo Chap Chap party leader, Alfred Mutua has warned that reducing the number of universities would be self-defeating for a country which is experiencing high demand for education.
Instead, Dr Mutua has prescribed the need to strengthen the quality standards in the institutions of higher learning and even establish more of such in order to ensure social equity and bridge the gap between the rich and the poor in the country.
“Kenya is coming from a history where only a few youth were accessing university education due to few institutions of higher learning and limited facilities in the existing ones. Many deserving youth were left out hence perpetuating a cycle of poverty and slow economic growth,” Dr Mutua said in a statement released to newsrooms on Saturday.
Citing the current demographic data in the country, Mutua said the surest way for Kenya to establish and build a fair and just society was to ensure access to higher education was achievable even to the very poor.
“I do not support the new recommendations of merging universities and shutting down some of them. The reality is, as Kenya grows and with nearly 80% of the population being below the age of 40, we need more universities not less,” he said adding that Kenya was not just for the rich.
A section of policy makers in the education sector has recommended that the number of universities in the country be reduced or merged in order to maintain acceptable quality standards for university education in the country.
Those of the view have argued that the country risked discharging half-baked and semi-skilled manpower in the economy due to non-compliance and lack of quality standards in the universities.
But Dr Mutua says it would be much easier for the country to deal with such challenges than limiting the opportunities for access to higher education to the millions of Kenyan youth.
“I appreciate the challenges facing higher education funding and quality standards but starting to close down universities located in counties and which we fought hard to get established, is not acceptable to us leaders and to Wananchi,” he said.
He went on, “In every village, it is now clear that it is through education that children from extremely poor backgrounds have become top notch professionals and industry captains turning around the fortunes of their families and communities around them.”
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