Magoha faults universities for duplicating courses

Education CS George Magoha (left), Higher Education PS Collette Suda and Technical, Vocational Education and Training (Tvet) PS Kevit Desai before the National Assembly Education Committee on Thursday. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha has said duplication of courses by universities is to blame for joblessness among graduates.

Prof Magoha told Parliament last week that the situation had led to release of half-baked graduates. He specifically pointed at newly established universities that he said were in a hurry to offer courses found in older institutions.

“A review of the programmes on offer in universities reveals multiple cases of intra-university and inter-university duplication of programmes,” said Magoha.

Educational fields

He told the National Assembly Education Committee that out of the 11 educational fields taught in the universities, only two – Law and Engineering – were not duplicated.

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Five fields – Education, Arts, Humanities, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Social Sciences, Journalism and Information and Business Administration – are offered in more than 75 per cent of the universities.

Services, Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries and Veterinary, Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Statistics and Health and Welfare are offered in 54 per cent to 69 per cent of the universities.

In the past, for instance, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology was associated with agriculture and technology courses. Kenyatta University was known for education and Egerton agriculture.

However, according to Magoha, the specialisation has been lost.

Presently, all the 37 public universities and their constituent colleges have 271,026 students on full time and another 159,421 on part time basis.

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This is against a workforce of 8,052 lecturers on full time and 3,322 on part time.

According to Magoha, the problem of staff is compounded by concerns that most universities do not meet the ideal ratio of 70:30 of academic staff to non-academic staff.

Radical reforms

He insisted on completing radical reforms in the universities even as he acknowledged funding gaps at the institutions.

Magoha said capitation to universities as a percentage of total revenue had been declining from 62.4 per cent in 2012/13 to 44.9 per cent in 2015/16 financial years.

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Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha