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The East African : October 21st 2013
4 OCTOBER 19-25, 2013 CELEBRATING KENYA@ 50 #WeAreOne The EastAfrican By CAROLINE THEURI Special Correspondent On January 21, 1981, then president Daniel arap Moi appointed a Presidential Working Party to advise on the establish- ment of a second university. The 18-member party, chaired by Dr Colin B. MacKay, con- cluded that a second university should be established to cater for the growing demands for higher education and counter pressure on existing institutions. The de- mand came from school leavers in the Arts and Science stream for the “O” level pass. Univer- sity selection then favoured the Science stream, for obvious rea- sons. Therefore, the Report of the Presidential Working Party, com- monly referred to as the MacKay Report, also recommended the phasing out of the “A” level pass. “A” levels had been introduced in 1961 and retained by the 1964 Ominde Commission. The “A” level pass followed the 7-6 -3 edu- cational system. The MacKay report proposed the introduction of the 8-4 -4 system: eight years in primary school, four in secondary and four in university. “ Numeracy and literacy skills would be of- fered in the first six years. Basic education with practical orienta- tion would be offered in the last two years of primary education,” reads the report. Whereas before 1981, those in primary school studied up to class seven, the report rec- ommended that it should be in- creased to eight years. Calls for a second university had also been led by school leav- ers many of whom had to seek further education overseas be- cause local universities were too expensive. By 1981, according to the MacKay Report, 7,000 Ken- yans were studying abroad, ei- ther on private or government sponsorship. This implied that university admissions were too few in the country. The MacKay Report therefore also prepared detailed plans, rec- ommendations and implementa- tion of a second medium sized university. This was mooted to have a total enrolment of be- tween 3,200 and 5,000 students in the first and second years, re- spectively. The university’s cur- ricula would focus on agricul- ture, continuing education and technology. According to the report, “As a technical university, it should also develop linkages with the non-degree technical training in- stitutes in the country.” After the government received the MacKay Report, preparatory work by the then Ministry of Higher Educa- tion proceeded in consultation with the director general of the United Nations Educational, Sci- entific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) for assistance in the es- tablishment of what is now the Moi University. A one-man Unesco mission visited the country early in 1983 to be followed later by a four man mission, and together with a Kenyan team, prepared the document titled “Project Docu- ment for the Preparation of the Development Plan of the Second University.” The team also recommended the setting up of a second public university Mackay team ushe≥s in 8:4:4 system Pupils now spend eight years in primary school.
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