"We are half-baked", university students tell Education CS Amina Mohamed

Education CS Amina Mohamed. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

Students have accused universities of not assigning them competent lecturers.

The students told Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed that many of them struggled through university only to miss out on jobs because of poor training.

The details emerged last week when the CS met student leaders from 16 public and private universities in her office.

Student leaders from the University of Nairobi, Kisii University, Daystar University, Kenyatta University, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University, Machakos University and Meru University attended the meeting.

Also represented were students from Egerton University, Pwani University, Multimedia University, Dedan Kimathi University and Murang’a University.

During the meeting also attended by University Education Principal Secretary Japheth Ntiba, the student leaders presented a memorandum to the CS.

Appearing before the National Assembly Education committee, Amina said sour relations between students and university managers had contributed to unrest in most institutions.

She told MPs that the impending staff audit would unearth the nature of staff teaching in the universities.

“We want to know who is teaching our children. Are they qualified? And particularly we want to now who is teaching first year students,” said Amina.

She said postgraduate programmes had collapsed in most universities, rekindling the debate of the number of qualified staff in Kenyan universities.

“There is a lot that has gone wrong and we shall spend the whole of this year correcting university education,” the CS told MPs.

A recent report by the Commission for University Education (CUE) revealed that there are only 648 full professors, 771 associate professors and 1,461 senior lecturers across all public universities.

PhD graduates

The report also revealed that local universities were not producing enough PhD graduates.

The report dubbed ‘Transforming University Education in Africa: Lessons from Kenya’ indicates that Kenyan universities require 10,000 PhDs.

Currently, one professor handles up to 98 students.

In some academic programmes, one lecturer teaches an average of up to 200 students, against the internationally recommended 30.

According to CUE, with a huge enrollment of students in public universities, some learners were leaving without ever interacting with a professor.

“The resultant capacity deficit means that the quality of education may be affected,” states the report.