April 25th 2017

Society / Education

Private universities facing crisis as Matiangi reforms set to begin

Dr Matiangi has announced the stoppage of online, distance and school-based learning programmes pending their review. However, he said some findings of the quality inspection of universities report would need to be corrected before the report is implemented.

By Priscillah Wanjirupwanjiru@kenyafreepress.comFriday, 17 Feb 2017 11:43 EAT

Dr Matiangi presiding over a graduation ceremony at the University of Nairobi.

Teaching and learning in a number of universities will be thrown into disarray as new rules promulgated by Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi begin to take effect. Many degrees including PhDs being used by some university administrators are set to be recalled following an audit that has unearthed grave anomalies in Kenya’s higher education.

Doctoral graduates who used Executive Master of Business Administration qualifications to pursue doctorate studies will have their papers recalled. Some of the individuals are currently teaching in the universities. All executive degree programmes have been suspended and individuals who graduated from such programmes will have their papers recalled. Dr Matiangi has announced the stoppage of online, distance and school-based learning programmes pending their review.

The report prepared by the Commission for University Education has revealed shocking levels of academic theft in some institutions, rampant abuse of admission procedures, academic fraud and general decay in standards. In one shocking case, a student who attained a grade D+ in 2010 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education exams graduated with a bachelor's degree in less than two years.

The student did a certificate programme between May and September 2011. She obtained a distinction and got admitted to a diploma programme in a university, which ended in December 2013. "She was then admitted in the same university in second year in March 2014 and graduated in December 2015, implying she took one year eight months," reads the report.

The minister had ordered the audit which ran from January 23 to February 3, to establish whether there were any universities "breaching the set Universities Regulations 2014 and the Universities Standards & Guidelines 2014 in line with the Universities Act No 42 of 2012."

The report calls for the banning of lecturers who gained admission to PhD classes using executive degree papers from teaching in Kenyan universities. The report also recommended the recall of honorary degrees awarded in contravention of the universities standards and guidelines.

It indicated that some universities had relaxed the admission criteria for degree programmes, whereby some students secured entry to undergraduate programmes using pre-university and bridging programmes which are not recognised in law. This means that persons who graduated in Kenyan universities but do not hold proper diploma papers will have their papers recalled.

The report's implementation will greatly affect academic programmes at private universities such as Mt. Kenya and St. Paul's which rely on certificate and diploma programmes which give unqualified KCSE graduates pathways to degree programmes.

At Mt Kenya University, 95 of the university's 232 academic programmes are certificate and diploma courses. At St. Paul's University in Limuru, more than half the academic programmes are for certificate and diploma level. 

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