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CUE to approve course accreditation online to aid quality assurance

By Augustine Oduor | May 8th 2021
Commissioner of Education (CUE) Chief Executive Officer Mwenda Ntarangwi. [Jenipher Wachie, Standard]

Universities will no longer make programmes accreditation requests manually now that the regulator wants the process done online for quality assurance and monitoring.

Before, universities applications for accreditation of new academic programmes needed to only print five copies and deliver them to the Commission for University Education (CUE) for consideration.

In a letter to vice-chancellors and principals of colleges, CUE chief executive Prof Mwenda Ntarangwi put a stop to the old process.

“The purpose of this letter is to inform all universities that from June 1, 2021 applications for accreditation of new academic programmes, including submissions of draft curricular, self-assessments reports and payment of applicable fees, will be lodged via the online portal,” said Ntarangwi.

This means universities will save time and money, as opposed to past case, which was tedious.

However, the commission and universities will be able to track the process with prompt feedback from the regulator.

“In the past, we had cases where the commission was blamed for delaying the process when the documents probably were still at the university, in some office. This will now come to an end as they will be able to monitor and track progress,” said Ntarangwi.

The accreditation process starts from the university where it does survey, engages stakeholders and experts to develop a programme.

This document is then sent to CUE for technical review of the proposed programmes, checking against existing standards and guidelines. CUE then seeks out experts in the proposed field to give a report based on the documents submitted. CUE then relays feedback to the universities to fill the gaps identified by experts advise.

The regulator then visits the university to conduct site verification to check available resources and preparedness to mount the programme. A report compiled from this process is tabbed at the CUE board for approval or rejection.

“Universities will now be able to track all these process online and make necessary adjustments for efficiency,” said Ntarangwi.

In his letter dated May 6, Ntarangwi said the commission has been mainstreaming its ICT operations and services delivery with a view of providing stakeholders with accurate and timely data to help make an informed decision.

Ntarangwi said the commission is rolling out an Integrated Management Information System (IMIS) as a key infrastructure in integrating ICT into all aspect of education and training across the universities sub-sector.

The reforms come as fingers are pointed at universities for diluting quality of higher education by introducing many courses, which are narrow in scope and not market-driven.

A recent CUE report on State of University Education indicated that the 64 public and private universities had mounted 3,408 programmes by 2016.

“Bachelors level had 1,627 programmes, followed by masters (1162), doctoral (518) and postgraduate diploma (96),” reads the report.

Of the total, public universities had the bulk of programmes at 2,752, which represents 81 per cent followed by private universities with 655 representing 19 per cent.

The calibre of programmes offered in various universities is largely determined by the institutions’ establishment, market forces, availability of resource, controls by professional bodies, availability and adequate space, facilities and teaching staff.

The report revealed most of the listed 21 clusters did not have programmes in universities, while some were over-represented. “Clusters with the highest number of programmes were business and administration with 32, agriculture, forestry and fisheries had 30, humanity and arts 28 while life sciences and physical sciences had 20.

Other science-oriented clusters such as architecture, engineering, veterinary and law were under-represented, says the report.

Sources familiar with the process told The Saturday Standard that universities with letters of interim authority are only allowed to mount four programs and can only add more after getting charter.

“Some universities do not even have academic leaders, no research leader, no infrastructure,” said an insider.   

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