NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 9 – Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi has faulted universities that enrol students for certificate and diploma courses.
Kaimenyi says the 67 universities across the country should stick to their main mandate which is to provide degree courses, and leave middle level colleges to offer certificate and diploma course.
“This country has very many middle-level colleges offering all manner of certificate courses and diplomas, and that’s how it should be. But universities, institutions of higher learning their main responsibility is to provide education at a higher level, that’s why it’s called higher education,” he said.
Speaking at a forum to discuss graduate employability held at Kenyatta University, Kaimenyi lamented that universities that offer these courses are only out to make money.
“The moment universities start offering these courses they spread themselves so thin, to the extent that they do not have sufficient time to perform their core mandate. If indeed and I suspect it’s the case and I’ve heard this complaint, people are offering these certificate courses with the core aim of increasing their revenue base,” he said.
Having the current degree enrolment at 0.1 percent, Kaimenyi says there is need for new strategies to be introduced to improve the quality of higher education.
“There is no doubt that updating content, modes of delivery and the professional expertise of teachers , tutors and lecturers is valuable, indeed essential and this can only be successful if some of the challenges facing higher education are tackled,” he said.
New research done by the British Council indicates 65 percent of Kenyan University students’ ultimate career goal is to be self-employed.
Director Education and Society, British Council, Jo Beall says there is need to balance the needs of students and those of employers through moulding both technical and soft skills.
“Universities through their curriculum need to review what they teach and how they teach. It is unfortunate that we currently not producing graduates that employees need. With that employers and stakeholders should be involved in the curriculum modelling,” she said.
“Beyond the classrooms a lot needs to be done to expand work placements and to develop entrepreneurial skills during and immediately after studies to improve the chances of investment in education leading to sustainable livelihoods.”