President Kibaki has assented to the Universities Bill 2012 which ushers changes in the governance of institutions of higher learning including a new commission that will replace the Commission for Higher Education.
The Joint Admissions Board, which is responsible for placement of students in public universities, has been replaced by the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service with wider mandate of placement of privately sponsored students in both public and private universities. The new placement body, in effect, takes away the right of public and private universities and colleges to admit students.
Among other changes in the bill is the requirement for foreign universities to submit proof of accreditation from their countries of origin before they are allowed to offer degrees in Kenya.
Public universities will be required to seek a fresh charter in line with the Universities Bill 2012 which took effect on 13th December. The seven public universities; University of Nairobi, Moi, Kenyatta, JKUAT, Maseno, Masinde Muliro and Egerton have one year to get the new charters. However, the 24 private universities will not have to seek a fresh charter.
Public universities have also lost the autonomy of deciding which courses their universities will offer. Instead, the Commission for University Education has been empowered by the act to approve and evaluate courses offered by local and foreign universities.
“The Commission will recognize and equate degrees, diplomas and certificates conferred or awarded by foreign universities and institutions in accordance with the standards and guidelines set out by the Commission from time to time.”