NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 26 – The government plans to create at least 13 new middle level colleges to boost the number of students that currently stands at 45,000.
Higher Education Minister Sally Kosgey told Parliament on Wednesday that this would preserve access to diplomas and certificates in the country. Dr Kosgey said her ministry had received modest funding from the Treasury to start building the colleges and had also signed funding agreements with external donors.
“We are aware and conscious of the fact that students in tertiary colleges should be more than those in universities,” she said, adding that the government had further stopped the upgrading of middle level colleges to University colleges.
Universities in Kenya have a total of 175,000 students. The government decided to upgrade the colleges to create more space for Universities, which have been running out of space following the introduction of self sponsored degree programmes that led to an upsurge in applications.
“We expect to shepherd this in future so that if need be rather than abolish a tertiary college, we build it into University, with the tertiary section intact. Indeed this is how some of the famous universities have come up,” she said.
The Minister was defending the recent upgrading of 16 middle level colleges and assured Parliament that the government was interested in safeguarding access to middle level education. Among those that fell victim to abolishing their diploma programmes include the famous Kenya Science Teachers College that was training science diploma teachers, and which is now a campus of the University of Nairobi.
Many other polytechnics became University colleges meaning they continue to offer diplomas but started offering degrees. According to Sessional Paper One (2005) on Education, the polytechnics should become fully-fledged universities in three years.
Kenya Polytechnic and South Eastern University are constituent colleges, which now fall under the University of Nairobi. Other colleges include Kisii, Chuka (both now under Egerton University), Kimathi, Taita-Taveta, Mombasa and Meru (Jomo Kenyatta University). Eldoret polytechnic has been taken over by Moi University.
Jomo Kenyatta University has also taken over the Kenya Technical Training College. KCCT has been upgraded to a Multi-Media University.
In the House, members wanted an assurance that the government was going to hasten the creation of new colleges to bridge the gap created by the take-overs and increase access to middle level education.
“The Minister should state what measures she is doing to ensure that the students do not suffer for long,” Mosop MP David Koech demanded.