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Daily Nation : January 27th 2014
Monday, January 27, 2014 The Springb0ard A peek into Kenya’s education SPECIAL REPORT Kaimenyi puts varsities on notice over quality Work begins proper at the Commission for University Education as new commissioners finally get installed BY PAULINE KAIRU email@example.com T he Cabinet Secretary for Education, Prof Jacob Kaimenyi, does not sound very impressed by the standards of university education in the country. For a man whose previous job was at a university, his concern must be informed by insider knowledge. He sounded quite determined when he recently asked newly installed commissioners at the Commission for University Education (CUE) to hit the ground running so as to ensure that university education would no longer be compromised. “My experience in the uni- versity has shown me that quality comes with its share of challenges. These challenges include weak governance and management structures, financial constraints especially with regard to research, and inadequacy of qualified academic staff,” said the former lecturer at the University of Nairobi. “The other challenge,” he went on, “has been rapid growth of the student population in universities because of the increased demand for higher education, as well as increased privatisation of university education — what we refer to as ‘massification’.” Prof Kaimenyi said these on January 16 as he formally installed the new CUE commissioners. Prof Henry Moses Thairu, a higher education, science technology and innovations expert, will head the CUE team as chairman. The other commissioners are Wilson Langat, James Patrick Ochieng, Lucy Wanja, Abudo Qonchoro Mamo, and Millicent Omukaga. They will serve a term of four years. The commission, comprising nine commissioners as set out in the Universities Act, will also include the principal secretaries for education and finance. Commission Secretary and CEO, Prof FILE | DAILY NATION David Some, serves as an ex-officio member. The appointments come as a relief to the commission, whose business had been at a standstill for eight months. The previous team’s tenure had expired on June 12, 2013, and the team to take over could not be immediately installed because of a temporary freeze on the hiring of top officials to state agencies. The presidential directive had followed recommendations in a proposed public service reform schedule intended to trim the workforce and reassess the government wage bill. Prof Kaimenyi acknowledged that the new commissioners were joining the stable at a time when there were so many concerns about university education, and asked them to quickly settle down and put in extra hours to set off the process of reversing the adverse trends in universities. One of the issues he spoke at length about concerned shortage of qualified instructors. He said: “We keep on talking about PhD as the gold standard for all university dons, but still, universities, whether public or private, have the bulk of their lecturers not having PhDs. The challenge to all these universities is for those of us who have PhDs to replicate ourselves. In other words, we need to go out of our way and supervise other people for them SO YOU WANT TO BE... P. 2 > Music production is a job for the socially intelligent says Jacky B IN THE NEWS Partnership University, hospital in deal to improve health service BY NELCON ODHIAMBO firstname.lastname@example.org Maseno University and Sagam Community Hospital have signed an agreement to improve medical services for residents of Siaya, Kisumu and Vihiga counties. Under the deal, Maseno will provide medical staff, while Sagam hospital will offer facilities. Speaking during the signing of the MoU at Maseno University, Vice Chancellor Prof Dominic Makawiti said the move aimed to alleviate preventable diseases that led to many deaths in the region. The agreement further indicates that Maseno Univer- sity will use Sagam hospital as a teaching and referral institution. Expressing support for the initiative, the board chair- man of Sagam Community Hospital, Mr Nelson Rogo, said: “We are well prepared to serve the community with our equipment. We will make it from this MoU we have signed today.” Ranking Which is the fairest university of them all? BY PAULINE KAIRU email@example.com University of Nairobi (UoN) has emerged top on the list of Kenyan universities with the most visited website. The 2014 international web ranking by higher education search engine and directory known as 4 International Colleges and Universities (abbreviated 4icu), places UoN at number 17 on the continent. In Kenya, UoN is followed by Moi and Strathmore Uni- versities at positions two and three respectively. A total of 44 Kenyan universities were ranked. Of these, only two other private universities, USIU and Mt Kenya, made it to the top 10 positions. They were fifth and seventh respectively. The web ranking also grades universities according I want you to hit the ground running on the inspections, including of public universities. If there is grumbling about the quality of education in any institution, rush there” Prof Jacob Kaimenyi, Cabinet Secretary for Education, speaking to newly installed commissioners at CUE to the depth of their use of ICT in training and research. It is, however, not based on the quality of education or level of services provided by the institutions, but on their popularity as approximated through visits to their websites. The ranking is intended to help international students and academic staff to understand how popular a specific University/College might be. The current ranking is based on an algorithm includ- ing five independent web metrics extracted from three different search engines. On the continent, Cairo University in Egypt is ranked first among 100 universities. It is followed by South Africa’s University of Cape Town and University of Pretoria in second and third positions. Continent-wide, Moi University is at position 50. Strathmore is ranked 67th, while Kenyatta University, which is fourth locally, is in position 44 on the continent. USIU is placed at 93. Thus, none of the Kenyan universities made it to the to also get PhDs,” he said. “I am aware there are instances where students undertaking undergraduate degree programmes have never interacted with a professor.... We need to ensure that CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 top 100 universities in the world. American universities dominate this list, led by Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University and Harvard University in that order. For a university to qualify for the ranking, it must meet a number of requirements, including official recognition, licensing and accreditation by national and regional bodies, such as ministries of education and recognised higher education accrediting organisations. They must also be officially entitled to grant four- year undergraduate degrees and postgraduate degrees, providing traditional face-to-face learning facilities, programmes and courses.
January 26th 2014
January 28th 2014