There have been alot of questions raised about the standard of University Education in Kenya. Cabinet Secretary for Ministry of Education Science and Technology Dr. Fred Matiangi has moved in to address the situation. Matiangi had asked The Commission for University Education (CUE) to conduct an audit of university education and below is a statement on audit report issued by CUE chairperson Prof. Chacha.
CUE Press Statement on Quality Audit of Universities Education in Kenya
“The Commission for University Education (CUE) is mandated to assure the Public and the Stakeholders that education offered in the Universities in Kenya is of good quality.In exercising this mandate, the Commission conducted a Quality Audit in all Universities in Kenya inJanuary and February, 2017.
The purpose of the Quality Audit was to establish the extent to which universities were complying with the Universities Act No. 42 of 2012 and the Amendments thereto, the Universities Regulations, 2014; and the Universities Standards and Guidelines, 2014. The Cabinet Secretary’s recent pronouncement on concerns about the quality of university education in Kenya equally informed the urgency of this exercise.The exercise was undertaken in line with the procedures spelt out in the Universities Regulations, 2014.
Following the Audit exercise and the concurrence to the Exit Reports by the Vice Chancellors, CUE analysed the Audit Teams’ responses and prepared Audit Reports for each university, which have been given to the respective universities today. In addition to this CUE prepared a Report, covering the general cross cutting issues, which was shared during the closed door meeting with the Chancellors, Chairs of Councils and Vice Chancellors today.
The exercise has revealed a number of pertinent issues which the Commission will be working with the Universities to address. The following are some of the areas that the Commission will be addressing with the universities:
- The Audit disclosed that in some universities, there were missing marks, delayed completion rates, and unaccountability for students at all levels. During the 2017 graduation cycle, all universities will be expected to ensure that all their students receive transcripts and results prior to graduating. In order to achieve the latter, each university is required to establish and implement an effective electronic student and data management system within the next six months. Universities that fail to comply with this requirement will be severely sanctioned, including possibly losing of their university status.
- To ensure consistence and continued compliance with the existing Institutional Audit legal framework, every university will be expected to prepare and submit to the Commission an annual report in a prescribed format.
- The Audit revealed that the quality of school-based programmes offered by many universities is wanting. The programmes do not afford adequate contact time between the learners and their lecturers, do not afford the learners sufficient exposure to quality degree research, library time and interaction between the learners themselves. In this regard, the Commission will begin a process of working with the concerned universities to convert the school-based courses into quality part-time programmes with sufficient opportunities for research and contact between the learners and their lecturers.
- The Audit observed rampant abuse of the ‘Executive’degree programmes, including using such qualifications for admission to academic programmes as well as gaining employment, as academic staff, in the universities. To this end, the Commission has directed strict adherence,by the universities, to the Standards and Guidelines relating to such programmes.
- From the Audit, it was clear that some universities were offering programmes that were not approved by the Commission. The universities have been advised to ensure that all their programmes are approved by the Commission before being mounted, in line with the Universities (Amendment) Act, No. 48 of 2016.
- Sound academic and university traditions the world over support the award of an honorary degree to individuals withdistinguished and outstanding personal, career or public service accomplishments.Kenyan universities should be no exception. The audit revealed that this tradition has been diluted by some universities, and even abused by others where individuals who do not posit such outstanding accomplishments have been awarded honorary degrees. In addition to ensuring that the established and laid down procedures for identifying honourees and awarding of honorary degrees is followed, the Commission will henceforth work with universities in Kenya to safeguardthat the honorary degree tradition.
- The Audit report revealed that some universities were not strictly adhering to the admission criteria. For example, some students were securing entry to undergraduate programmesusing pre-university and bridging programmes, which are not recognized in Law. In this respect, every university is expected to strictly adhere to the set standards and guidelines on admission criteria.
- The Audit exposed rampant abuse of the Credit Accumulative and Transfer System(CATS). On this, the Commission has directed each university to strictly adhere to the set standards and guidelines on CATS.
- It was observed, from the Audit, that many universities did not have anti-plagiarism policies and systems.In some respect, this has allowed universities to engage in anomalous practices in the preparation of theses and dissertations by their students. Universities have been required to urgently develop anti-plagiarism policies and acquire appropriate systems to ensure high standards of scholarly work. (For best plagiarism checking software check here)
- The Audit revealed that the authenticity and validity of certification in some universities was weak. The Commission has directed the universities to ensure that the process and management of certification is strictly monitored and that controls are in place to ensure that only authorized persons have access to certificates.
- Regarding teaching staff in the universities, from the Audit, it was observed that a number of universities were not adhering to the ratios of full time to part-time staff, as provided for in the Standards and Guidelines. In addition, the number of non-academic staff was found to be high in relation to the number of academic staff, thereby straining the resources allocated to the core functions of teaching and learning. In this respect, the Commission will be working with the specific universities to ensure that the ratio of full-time to part- time and that of academic to non-academic staff is carefully observed.
- The Audit showed that, in many universities, the lecturer to student ration was clearly prejudicial to quality teaching, research and accurate assessment. This is the greatest challenge to the provision of quality education in most of our universities.The Commission has directed the universities to ensure that class sizes and staff to student ratios are within the allowable limits, as provided for in the Standards and Guidelines.
- The Audit established that many universities have not instituted internal quality assurance policies, systems and mechanisms, in line with the Universities Regulations. In this respect, the Commission has instructed that all universities establish and strengthen their internal quality assurance structures, systems and mechanisms by 30th June 2017.
The Commission is requiring each university to submit corrections of factual errors they may find in their individual audit Audit Report, within 7 days. In addition, each university is required to submit its corrective actions to the Commission within 30 days.
As you are aware, the Universities Act was amended in December 2016. Following the amendments, the Commission will work with key stakeholders in university education to review the existing Universities Regulations and Standards & Guidelines, within the next six months, in order to align them with the amended Act.”
Do not miss our next update on the public’s reaction to CS Matiangi’s Quality Audit of Universities Education in Kenya and the audit report of each university.