Eight universities risk closure in ministry's new proposal

Eight-year limit for new universities to operate on a temporary licence

In Summary

• Temporary licence is given to institutions that meet all requirements outlined by the ministry to operate. 

• CS Matiang'i in 2017 proposed the closure of universities running on a temporary license for more than eight years. 

Education CS George Magoha
Education CS George Magoha

The Education ministry has come up with an eight-year limit for new universities to operate on a temporary licence. 

In the proposal to amend the University Act 2012, the ministry suggests that newly established universities be given a letter of interim authority (temporary licence) for four renewable (once) years. 

The temporary licence is given to institutions that meet all requirements outlined by the ministry. 

The proposal was submitted to the parliamentary Education Committee last week.

On Wednesday, committee chairman Julius Melly said the proposal aims at ensuring institutions conform to regulations within the set period.

However, if approved to law, the regulation could reopen the debate on operations of universities that are operating on the temporary licences for more than the proposed eight years.

The debate was opened by former Education CS Fred Matiang'i in December 2017. He proposed the closure of institutions running on a temporary licence for more than eight years.

The future of the institutions now lies with CS George Magoha should it be approved.

Records from the Commission of University Education – the regulator of higher education – show that 14 universities operate on letter of interim authority.

The oldest in operation was issued in 2002 to Aga Khan University.


Others that were issued more than eight years ago include  Kiriri Women University, Gretsa University, Presbyterian University, East Africa University, Management University of Africa, Pioneer International University and Riara University.

UMMA University, International Leadership University, Zetech University, Lukenya University, RAF and Amref University got their temporary licences later than 2012, meaning they would still be valid should the regulation come to force.

In 2017, a review of universities operating on a letter of interim authority by the CUE led to the denial of licences to three of the universities assessed. 

They include Kiriri Women’s University of Science and Technology, the East African University and the Thika-based Gretsa University. However, they were later issued with an extension to operate on a provisional basis as they put their houses in order.

Five other institutions – Aga Khan, Management University of Africa, Presbyterian University of East Africa, Riara and Pioneer International – were allowed to teach on temporary licences.

CUE further recommended students not to be placed in the institutions that had been denied licences. This was, however, not adhered to.

Edited by R.Wamochie 

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