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Education team must do more than just close universities

UREPORT
By Felix Opata | January 26th 2016

Between January and December 2015, the Commission for University Education (CUE) in its first satellite campus accreditation exercise inspected a total of 56 campuses in Nairobi, Lodwar, Western, Nyanza and Rift Valley.

During the time, it identified eight campuses for closure in Nairobi and 11 in Western, Nyanza and Rift Valley regions, a total of 19 representing a high of 34 per cent. The commission is in the process of inspecting campuses in Eastern, Central and Coast, its third cluster in the region according to its Chief Executive Officer David Some.

Kisii University bore the brunt of the crackdown as it could, in barely three months, lose 10 out of its 13 campuses.

The demand for university education in the country has significantly increased. The Government, in its own policy statement, advocated for a double intake of university students in the 2011/12 academic year.

When public universities get into haphazard expansions, through market penetration tactics, the questions of what markets they are competing for and the basic essence of a university become imperative. Facilities and teachers, to match the implementation requirements of these policy guidelines, are key.

As the team evaluates the varsities key questions arise. Where did these campuses originally get authority from? What happens to a rented second floor campus where there is no land space, a major university requirement? When students see the list of accredited universities by CUE and join the unlisted satellite campuses, on advice of these parent universities, where does the following advice from Prof Thairu fall?

He said: “Students should be careful as to where they go to university; to go to accredited institutions. If you don’t do then you take the responsibility of only having a paper certificate”.

What is the position of CUE to the public? What is the responsibility of the students? Where do we want students and the affected community of stakeholders to stand amid such a chaotic administrative flop of poor customer and public relations experience strategy?

{Felix Opata, Nairobi}

Indeed, revocation of PhDs by CUE is welcome but they need to employ right procedures before going to the Press.

The vice chancellors and management boards of affected universities have come out guns blazing condemning the modus operandi employed by CUE when announcing the imminent closure of their campuses and/or revocation of its degrees and programmes.

CUE has been condemned for its alleged unprofessionalism due to its failure to inform the university management boards before going to the Press.

Kisii University Vice Chancellor Jared Akama has been quoted saying there was no official contact made by the commission.

It is undeniably true that CUE has been entrusted with keeping check of quality in higher education, but it’s also imperative for it to observe rules and procedures before its delivery of the imminent closure of any institution.

All we ask for is quality and sanity in our universities. Indeed, this is a call but so many questions arise: Where was CUE when these students were enrolled and conferred? What was the role of the registrars of these universities in ensuring admission is beyond reproach? What are the universities’ policies on matters transfer and exemptions of units from another university

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