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ELECTION 2022

End of road for quack lecturers as cleanup of universities begins

EDUCATION
By Richard Mutembei | Apr 9th 2017 | 3 min read
Education CS Fred Matiang’i presents a gift to a former student of Mary Hill Girls School in Thika. The student excelled in last year’s KCSE exams. The CS was the chief guest during the school’s prize giving ceremony. [Photo:Kamau Maichuhie, Standard]

The Education Ministry is on Monday expected to announce tough measures to clean up the rot in public universities.

Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i has summoned more than 100 vice chancellors as well as sitting and outgoing council chairpersons to a two-day meeting at Simba Lodge, Naivasha, to spell out a plan to rid the universities of unprofessional practices, including irregular admissions and recruitment of under qualified lecturers.

The university bosses, who include 22 newly-appointed council chairpersons, will each be tasked to propose ways of addressing weaknesses outlined in individual university reports arising from the recent Commission for University Education (CUE) audit.

The 22 chairpersons were appointed from outside of the universities, a break from the past when the majority of them were worked in various colleges.

Those selected to chair the councils are men and women who have honed their skills in the private sector and non-profit organisations, while others are retired former government administrators.

A document seen by The Sunday Standard shows that the ministry has identified key issues that the authorities want the officials to give priority to as they embark on the process of cleaning up of the high education sector.

The councils will be asked to propose how to deal with will be the deteriorating standards of teaching and learning, largely caused by ill-qualified lecturers.

The CUE audit released in February revealed that in some universities, people with a Bachelors degree were recruited to teach students in Masters classes, something that was blamed for the poor quality graduates from the institutions of higher learning.

The new councils will also be confronted with the task of streamlining the admission of students, after the audit revealed some universities had been admitting unqualified candidates to pursue degrees.

Also to be tabled for discussion is the CUE report’s finding that some universities granted credit transfers to students who did not have the requisite qualifications for such consideration.

The report also confirmed fears among many employers that some universities were producing half-baked graduates by failing to expose students to minimum lecture hours for specific disciplines.

For this reason, the audit report recommended that all school-based programmes be converted into part-time programmes, a recommendation that Egerton University has already started implementing.

Although universities are expected to award honorary degrees to individuals with distinguished careers and service to humanity, said the audit found that some of them issued the honours to people with mediocre accomplishments.

At the Naivasha meeting, the new administrators will be tasked with finding ways to fight rampant plagiarism of project papers among students at the masters and doctoral levels.

Some students were found to have adopted the practice of recruiting people to write research papers for them, which they then present to panels. 

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