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Check haphazard expansion of varsities

By Kennedy Buhere | December 25th 2015 at 11:00:24 GMT +0300

Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i has hinted at a sweeping review of the model of expanding access to university education in the country.

The CS’s concern follows the unprecedented expansion of universities through the setting up new campuses in different locations in order to increase enrollment.

At the heart of Dr Matiang’i’s reservations is the fear that haphazard expansion of university education will irreparably compromise Government policy to expand higher education as a national strategy to improve overall human resource capacity in the country.

The Universities Standards and Guidelines and Universities Regulations 2014, underline the requirements for establishing and seeking approval for academic and professional programmes. These standards and regulations are obligatory for all universities.

The ministry holds that indiscriminate expansion outstrips the capacity of faculty to maintain quality in some institutions. This is particularly so where existing universities set up university campuses without being supported by permanent faculty members, teaching and learning facilities.

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The Sessional Paper No. 14 of 2012, on reforming the education and training sectors in Kenya, emphasises continuous improvement and relevance of university education.

The ministry’s concern about unfettered expansion of universities is that this will compromise quality of the “learning environment created, the curriculum or programmes adopted and the academic staff in the institution”.

Developed countries look to their higher education institutions to nurture the competitive edge they need to survive in a global economy. We can compete if we focus on building world-class universities, universities that ensure that the graduates they are releasing into the larger society can help it solve problems, innovate and provide leadership.

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