29 August 2007

Kenya: Six Institutions Made Campuses

Nairobi — Kenya and Mombasa polytechnics have been upgraded to university status to offer degrees in technical courses.

The polytechnics, however, will continue offering diploma and certificate courses.

They are among the six institutions upgraded to university status by President Kibaki in yesterday's Gazette notice.

Kenya Polytechnic will be a constituent college of the University of Nairobi (UoN) while Mombasa Polytechnic will be under Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT).

The other institutions that were upgraded are Pwani University College, Kimathi University College of Technology, Chuka University College and Kisii University College.

Pwani University College, which was the former Kilifi Institute of Technology, will be a constituent of Kenyatta University (KU), Kimathi University College of Technology will be a constituent college of JKUAT while Chuka University College and Kisii University College will be under Egerton University.

The news was, however, received with mixed feelings by scholars.

Dr Carey Francis Onyango of Maseno University said Kenyans needed more universities to curb migration of students to foreign institutions.

He said the system should be such that universities represent 10 per cent of the population.

"In the United States, there are about 3,000 universities absorbing a population of over 300 million people. Kenya should therefore have 300 universities for its over 30 million population," he said.

Another scholar, Dr George Arunga, said campaign gimmicks should not be extended to education sector.

He said thorough research ought to be done before institutions of higher learning are created.

The ODM parliamentary aspirant for Butere constituency admitted a lot of money was being spent by Kenyans seeking foreign education, adding that the trend would not change if local degrees are not tailored to meet market demands.

Dr Arunga said the economy of the country could not carry extra burden as most people lived below the poverty line.

"There is an assumption by the rich in the ruling class that education uplift standards without commensurate cash flow. The universities will only enable the rich but deficient intellectuals pervade the academic systems," he said.

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