Private varsities score high in new students voting plan

The top 10 universities led in the national roll-out of the Electoral College System (ECS) of students voting in universities. [Courtesy]
Private universities top the list of national institutions of higher learning that have fully implemented the new students election model that replaced the popular vote.

A new report to be released today reveals that Strathmore University, United Stated International University and KCA University are the most satisfied institutions in the adoption of Electoral College system of elections in universities.

The study conducted across all the 71 public and private institutions, shows that Technical University of Kenya and Machakos University are the two public universities that emerged among top five nationally in overall implementation and satisfaction of the new election system.

African Nazarene University, Mount Kenya University, South Eastern University of Kenya, University of Nairobi and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology close the top 10 institutions nationally.

The details are contained in the CPS International report dubbed State of Students Unions in Kenyan Universities (2019) to be released today.

The top 10 universities led in the national roll-out of the Electoral College System (ECS) of students voting in universities.

Almost all the student associations previously used the popular voting system for the executive and members of the governing bodies before the University Act (2012) was amended in 2016.

The new Act introduced a change in the election process that preferred the Electoral College to the popular vote system used in the past.

With the amendment, a uniform leadership structure for all universities was introduced for both public and private.

The student council today comprises a chairperson, the vice chairperson, the secretary general and the treasurer.

The new system also provides for representation from three special interests groups – persons with a disability, postgraduate and international students. Entertainment, games and sports representatives are also included.

The new reports finds that the Electoral College system is popular among students and recommends to the rest of the institutions to enhance its awareness.

Overall, 85 per cent of the university students were aware of the Electoral College System (ECS) in Kenya.

Only 5.6 per cent of universities failed to implement the 2016 amendments.

“There is need to retain the ECS system as majority of students like it. Also it promotes national diversity and reduces the probability of violence during elections,” reads the report.

The report finds that more than half – 58.8 per cent – of the respondents agreed that the new voting system was adequate.

“56.1 per cent of the students are satisfied with their current students association leadership while 43.9 per cent of the students are dissatisfied with it. Another 65 per cent of the students have confidence in their student’s council while the rest don’t,” reads the report.

Report also finds that about 60.3 per cent of the respondents believe that the current students council reflects national diversity while 39.7 per cent of them do not agree.

“64 per cent of the students agree that the current students council abide by the Two Thirds gender rule while 36 per cent think otherwise,” reads the report.

The survey used face-to-face interviews, telephone interviews, key informant interviews and two focus group discussions.

The census method was employed in all the 71 institutions. In successful interviewer-respondent meetings, there was physical administration of questionnaire.

Out of 1,300 questionnaires, 1,245 had positive response except 65 of them.

The study recommends that student associations should conduct Annual General Meetings (AGMs) and students’ caucuses to increase transparency in unions.

"Engage reputable firms to train universities’ on elections processes and management and intensify students’ leadership development and integrity initiatives in line with University Act (2012).”

On the management of the elections, 5.9 per cent of the respondents said they are satisfied with the election process managers with 23.5 per cent expressing adequate satisfaction levels.

Another 38.4 per cent of the students said they were were satisfied with leadership skills of the elections managers while 18.2 per cent of the students said they were dissatisfied with elections managers.

On campaigns and financing management, 67 per cent of respondents said they were satisfied with how universities regulate campaigns, funding, offenses and penalties issued.

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Augustine OduorStrathmore UniversityUnited Stated International UniversityKCA UniversityUniversity ActMachakos UniversityTechnical University of Kenya