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February 20, 2019

Cash crisis hits higher learning

Chairman of Embu college Kithinji Kiragu and University of Embu Deputy Vice chancellor Prof Kiplagat Kotut  yesterday
Chairman of Embu college Kithinji Kiragu and University of Embu Deputy Vice chancellor Prof Kiplagat Kotut yesterday

Higher education is at stake because of financial crises in universities and colleges, two officials have said.


University of Embu deputy vice chancellor Kiplagat Kotut and Embu College chairman Kithinji Kiragu have blamed the problem on new rules introduced by the government.


Kotut is in charge of academics, research and extension.


They said many campuses have been closed. They said, however, that the regulations are necessary.


The duo spoke at the University of Embu. They signed an MoU that allows Embu College graduates to join the university for degree programmes. They will take less time to complete their degree courses and pay less, it says.


Last year, the Education ministry stopped public universities from setting up more satellite campuses. It closed some of them and called for an audit of others.


Then CS Fred Matiang’i directed managements to focus on strengthening existing campuses.


“Some of these campuses are set up on top of bars. Others have no essential facilities. We’ll not allow it anymore,” he told varsity chiefs in Naivasha.


The CS said quality of education in most constituent colleges was poor and opening of new campuses had to be regulated.


“Opening satellite campuses waters down standards,” he said.


Matiang’i reported that Kenya needs at least 1,000 PhDs to effectively drive academics and research in institutions.


“The varsities audit revealed ineligible students were admitted to pursue degrees and honorary degrees were given to undeserving cases,” he said.


Yesterday, Kiragu said his college offered courses in partnership with Laikipia University and the Jomo Kenyatta University of Technology but this was undermined after the new rules took effect.


“Matiang’i brought valid rules. I was happy because I was worried about university education, but they almost brought Embu College to its knees. We found ourselves losing almost half of our students,” he said.


He said that with the new requirements, middle-level college students find it difficult to pursue degree courses unless they join unmiversities directly.

Having many campuses increased access to education and the current situation has had a heavy toll on learning, Kiragu said.

He said running a private college “is quite demanding and the new rules have even made it more challenging”.


Kiragu and Kotut said the partnership will benefit the institutions, the residents, the county and the country at large.


They urged the government to reform the education structure so students who perform poorly in KCSE exams can pursue degree courses. Some fail because of unavoidable reasons, Kiragu said.

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