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Blame game over unapproved varsity courses

Wednesday February 20 2019

Prof Chacha Nyaigoti Chacha

Commission for University Education chairman Prof Chacha Nyaigoti Chacha during a media briefing at the commission’s offices on February 19, 2019. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU | NATION MEDIA GROUP  

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A blame game ensued Tuesday between the Commission for University Education (CUE) and universities over bogus courses offered at tertiary institutions.

This follows revelations that 133 courses taught at 26 universities have not been approved by the commission. More than 10,000 students are currently taking the unapproved courses.

However, the commission says the anomaly would be regularised.


CUE said most of the universities were running programmes not approved in an attempt to cut on accreditation costs — Sh320,000 per programme per year. But two universities hit back, saying the regulator was sleeping on the job.

“Some universities provide details for accreditation for particular programmes but continue to teach others that are not approved and the commission only comes to learn about them later,” said an official at CUE.

At Tom Mboya University College in Homa Bay, learning was suspended after CUE said the institution offers 25 unapproved courses.

In a notice dated February 18, the chairperson of the Students Union, Mr David Gitonga, said they would not attend classes until the matter is addressed.

On Tuesday, CUE chairman Chacha Nyaigoti Chacha called off a media briefing in which he was to comment on the audit.

Prof Chacha said he needs more time to study a report that had been compiled after a board meeting.

“We had called you here to give a brief on the issue of unaccredited programmes being offered in universities but unfortunately we will not be able to do so today. We have to look at the report before making any pronouncement,” said Prof Chacha.

At Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, officials Tuesday clarified that the institution submitted documentation to CUE in August 2017 to have the Bachelor of Science (Applied Statistics) course accredited.


The acting academic registrar, Prof Thomas Sakwa, said he was following up with CUE to establish what could have happened because all the other courses had been approved. “Perhaps the course has been included in the list erroneously because the record at CUE has not been updated,” Prof Sakwa said.

At Kibabii University, vice-chancellor Ipara Odeo said the institution had submitted the Diploma in Business Management course for accreditation and asked students not to panic.

On Monday, CUE chief executive officer Mwenda Ntarangwi said students taking these programmes should not panic. “We are working with universities to iron out any lingering issues,” Prof Ntarangwi said.

Tom Mboya University College principal Charles Ochola criticised the CUE report, saying the institution currently offers 13 programmes and not 37 as reported by the commission.

“We are currently offering only 13 courses from Maseno University. A constituent university college can only offer courses of the parent university,” he said.

Reporting by Ouma Wanzala, Benson Amadala and George Odiwuor