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Panic over fate of degrees as damning audit set to be released

By Augustine Oduor | February 15th 2017
university of nairobi graduation PHOTO:COURTESY

Kenyans with questionable university degrees are currently sitting on the edge as their certificates may be recalled if discovered they did not fulfill standard requirements.

The Commission for University Education (CUE) is set to release results of an audit it carried out on academic papers, universities have been awarding, to ensure quality.

Education CS Fred Matiang'i ordered the audit after it emerged some universities may have awarded degrees to undeserving individuals, either because they were admitted into the programmes without the required minimum qualifications or failed to attend required lectures.

And universities that issued these degrees will also be punished for not observing the strict quality controls set out by CUE.

It means those who were admitted to the universities without minimum entry requirements will have their papers withdrawn.

And those who graduated in public and private universities without studying all the necessary units required for the programme will be recalled to take up enhanced content to enrich their degrees.

The revelations came as CUE prepares to launch the quality inspection report initiated last month.

The Standard has established results of the audit will be released tomorrow at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD).

Education CS Fred Matiang'i PHOTO: COURTESY

Only vice chancellors and principals of university colleges have been invited to the event.

"The purpose of this letter is to invite you to the release of results of the quality audit inspection on Thursday, February 16, 2017," reads a letter by CUE chief executive David Some. The letter is dated February 10, 2017.

The audit involved interviews with students, academic, non-teaching and support staff. Also interviewed were alumni, management staff, senate, councils and boards of trustees.

The audit took place between January 23 and February 10, this year.

"The findings will form policy advisory to the government on quality assurance and integrity of university education in accordance with the law," reads a brief on the audit.

On December 20, last year, Dr Matiang'i announced the Government would withdraw degrees awarded without the express authority of the CUE as provided for in the charters.

He also threatened to close down universities violating statutes and regulations guiding provision of quality university education.

"We will take difficult and painful decisions to restore order in our university education," Dr Matiang'i said adding, "People cannot be have degrees that they did not work for."

Matiang'i also put politicians with questionable certificates on notice ahead of this year's General Election.

He said no politician would be cleared to contest for any seat unless CUE is satisfied with the university papers presented.

"Elections are up and everyone is rushing to get papers. This time, CUE's voice must be heard," said Matiang'i. He said the ministry was consulting with CUE to ensure only those with genuine degrees are cleared.

"And those who will present papers from unrecognised universities will be turned away," Matiang'i said.

Matiang'i expressed concern some universities were admitting students without the minimum entry requirements for degree programmes.

The audit covered seven key areas, including appointments and promotions of academic staff based on qualifications and merit.

Under the minimum admissions qualifications, the audit assessed students' enrollment into degree programmes, progression through academic years and credit transfers over the last five years. The minimum university entry grade is C+.

The Standard established certificate and diploma holders were also verified to ascertain authenticity.

In an earlier interview, CUE deputy CEO in charge of quality and standards Anne Nangulu said there must be no short cuts to degrees.

Prof Nangulu said the commission received complaints from the public about diploma holders who went ahead to pursue master's and doctorates.

Honorary degrees will also be recalled if procedures were not followed in awarding them.

The audit also looked at integrity of university examinations, delays in releasing academic transcripts and the question of missing marks.

"There has been outcry that students do not graduate in time because of missing marks. Record keeping by some universities is questionable," said Prof Nangulu.


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