Varsity faults council’s power on accreditation

Supporting Moi Universty’s argument, CUE has faulted the composition of CLE as being improper and not according to the University Act.

Saturday January 23 2016

Moi University School of Law Alumni national chairman Lawrence Karanja (centre) with other members address journalists in Nakuru on October 1, 2015 reacting to orders by Council of Legal Education to close the school. The university's alumni want the council reconstituted. PHOTO | SULEIMAN MBATIAH | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Moi University School of Law Alumni national chairman Lawrence Karanja (centre) with other members address journalists in Nakuru on October 1, 2015 reacting to orders by Council of Legal Education to close the school. The university's alumni want the council reconstituted. PHOTO | SULEIMAN MBATIAH | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

ByOUMA WANZALA
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The Council of Legal Education (CLE) has no powers to conduct inspections in Universities, Moi University has claimed.

In a dispute between the Council and the Eldoret based institution of higher learning over accreditation, Moi University said that it is the Commission of University Education (CUE) to accredit universities.

“CLE has no authority to inspect or accredit universities and that it’s only mandate is to set and enforce standards relating to the accreditation of legal education providers for purposes of licensing as set out in a section of the Act,” the university said.

Moi University last year moved to court following a decision by the council to deny its School of Law further provisional accreditation as a provider of legal education.

But High Court judge George Odunga allowed its School of Law to remain operational pending further directions of the Court as well as the determination of the case filed by Moi which is set for February 24.

FAULTED

Supporting Moi Universty’s argument, CUE has faulted the composition of CLE as being improper and not according to the University Act.

The Commission claims that any decision taken by the Council is therefore incompetent and cannot stand.

The Legal Education Act was enacted in September, 2012 while the Universities Act in December, 2012.

The Universities Act regulates all issues extending to university education while CUE is limited to regulate all varsities education and administration.

According to Moi University’s legal officer Wilkister Simiyu, the directive had been issued after an August 28, 2015 onsite inspection by CLE’s Quality Assurance and Compliance Committee for the law degree programme after which a report was attached to the September 23 letter that communicated the decision.

UNCONSTITUTIONAL

Moi University claimed that accreditation parameters purportedly used to evaluate their curriculum was unconstitutional.

An inspection was done on in November 2, 2012, and Moi was given a two year provisional accreditation and was to address infrastructure and resources as per the student ratio.

A re-verification visit was made on September 20, 2013 and another two years were granted.

Moi University insists that it is still in the process of implementing recommendations of the last inspection and has faulted the council of failing to consider the ongoing construction of the library complex which was initially set for completion in May.

Even though the court granted them partial reprieve last year, the directive to suspend the law programme was not stopped and awaits the determination of the case.

NEGATIVE IMPACT

The Alumni of the University claims that suspending the course would negatively impact those lawyers who are already practicing.

The Alumni have also written to Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi, to demand the reconstitution of the council’S board.

They want Dr Matiang’i to advise the President to appoint a chairman of the council, the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) to be ordered to nominate two members instead of the current three.

They also want public and private universities to nominate one member each and the council directed to put on hold its operations until it is properly constituted.

Previously, the chairman was appointed by the Attorney-General.

TEN MEMBERS

According to the amended law, the board is supposed to have 10 members chaired by an individual with at least 15 years-experience in legal education and training, appointed by the President.

Other members include the principal secretary responsible for legal education, the PS for Finance, the AG, the Chief Justice, two advocates nominated by the LSK, an individual who teaches law nominated by public universities, an individual who teaches law nominated by private universities, and the secretary to the council.

Lawyer Macharia Karanja of Mirugi Kariuki and Company Advocates for the alumni said the Council of Legal Education as currently constituted offends the law.

“Upon proper constitution of the council, direct the council to competitively recruit its chief executive officer,” he said.

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