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KENYA LATEST NEWS

Ministry sets up task force to review parallel degree plan

The self-sponsorship programme which has been the main source of revenue for public universities since 1999 is set for a major overhaul as the government steps in to streamline education in the country.

Yesterday, Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed commissioned an inter-ministerial task force to look into education systems and delivery of services in universities.

Focus is also on the quality of education offered, staffing, workers’ salaries and programmes offered in universities.

The task force, which will be in office for a month, will be required to consider and review successes and challenges of the Module II Programme in the development of university education and training.

LECTURERS
Ms Mohamed said there have been concerns about the quality of education in public universities and called for an overhaul of the whole sector.

“Time has come to make resolute and necessary decisions to restore quality learning in our universities,” Ms Mohamed said.

Ms Mohamed said that after holding a meeting with student leaders from various public universities to check on the quality of teaching, they confirmed that most lecturers do not attend classes.

“Most students are actually quarter baked due to lecturers’ strikes and absenteeism of lecturers,” she said.

She said lecturers hopping from one university to another had weakened the essential student-lecturer contact.

PHD STUDENTS
She further noted that management of universities is ineffective.

Currently, the ministry is investigating the alleged diversion of resources meant for statutory payments into other purposes in universities.

To deal with inadequacy of PhD lecturers, the CS said the government has put in place a policy that 70 per cent of PhD scholarships that Kenya receives will only go to applicants who will teach in public universities.

She said this is because the quality of graduate programmes, relied on to equip staff to teach in universities, is of low standards.

“The committee has the responsibility to review the general security situation in public universities and advise on implications on teaching and learning.”

STRIKES
The team will also be required to amicably deal with the recurring lecturers’ strikes and find a lasting solution.

Lecturers have been on strike for the past 50 days, paralysing education in all public universities.

State Department for University Education and Research Principal Secretary Japhet Ntiba said the task force will give priority to the 2017-2021 CBA counter offer for the lecturers.

Ntiba further said the issue of salary increment can only be dealt with by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission whose term expired last year.

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