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Ruto vows to fight tribalism in varsities

By | September 14th 2010

By Ally Jamah

Higher Education Minister William Ruto has promised to slay the dragon of tribalism in public universities, terming it unacceptable.

Speaking after meeting vice-chancellors of all public universities and council chairpersons, Mr Ruto said on Monday tribalism was rampant in institutions of higher learning.

"Our universities need to be centres of excellence and a good example to the society. We cannot afford a blind eye to tribalism there," he said.

The minister said a preliminary audit of staff in the seven public universities and 13 constituent colleges revealed a high level of tribalism.

"Tribalism is most evident in appointments in the constituent colleges which have been turned into tribal entities," he said.

Tackling tribalism in universities has been on the table for many years and Kenyans will be curious to see how Ruto will tackle the problem.

Early 2010, a report by the National Cohesion and Integration Commission indicated that Maseno and Chuka universities had the biggest ethnic imbalance.

Ruto also announced a new online university will be set up by January 2011. The proposed university will be named Open University of Kenya. "We want to increase opportunities for higher education for Kenyans," he said.

Meanwhile, thousands of unregistered colleges face closure from tomorrow as the 21-day notice by the minister expires.

This includes more than 600 institutions granted provisional licenses, but did not seek full registration after expiry of the stipulated 18 months.

On Monday, ministry officials were tight-lipped on the action against the unlicensed colleges amid concerns they have few inspectors to do the job. "We will go after all the institutions not in our books and conning Kenyans," said Ruto.

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