9 March 2012

Kenya: State to Upgrade Nine Colleges, Says Kamar

The government will elevate the nine university colleges to full fledged universities, Higher Education minister Margaret Kamar said yesterday. The minister also announced that three technical universities, the first of their kind in the country, will be launched soon. The move is in a bid to increase university places for KCSE candidates who increased to 119,000 in 2011 scoring C+ and above.

In 2010 KCSE, 97,000 scored C+ and above. Kamar said the upsurge in this numbers has forced the government to think on how to get more university places. She said: "The huge student numbers leaving secondary education is well above the capacity of the local universities to absorb and approximately over 50 percent will not get admitted to degree awarding programmes."

She added that some of them will then join middle level colleges, others may join the world of work or seek cross-border or overseas education while a certain percentage may face the challenge of being unemployed. "We will this year elevate the existing nine university colleges to full universities," Kamar said.

She added that this will take place after the university bill is passed by parliament. The elevation of the university colleges which are 15 in total would mean that only six will remain as university colleges. The minister was speaking at the 14th Nairobi International Education Fair at the Sarit Centre.

Some of these participants at the fair included universities from America, Australia, Britain, China, Canada, Malaysia, Mauritius, Russia, South Africa and Uganda. "This indeed, demonstrates the international stature of the education fair," the minister said and asked parents and 2011 KCSE candidates to attend the fair and get information that will help the youth shape their futures.

There are seven public universities with over 1000 private middle level technical colleges offering technical and business studies. Private universities today stand at 27 from 13 in 2004. Some of the state owned technical colleges have lately faced a continuous elevation to university college status upon demand of the local communities and politicians.

Kamar lauded the establishment of new universities which she said had given emphasis on sciences and engineering programmes to address the shortage of engineers and scientists. She said the government provides a number of opportunities for investment in new private technical institutions and universities to tap in the huge demand for tertiary education in Kenya.

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