A Nairobi-based college has moved to court to challenge the new regulations barring tertiary institutions from offering programmes in collaboration with universities.
Highlands State College Limited is seeking to quash Rule 86(2) of the Universities Regulations 2014, which bars admission of students to such programmes beginning June 12 this year.
The suit is filed against Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi and the Commission for University Education (CUE).
The institution, which collaborates with Maasai Mara University, claims the fate of their 300 students is unknown after they were denied admission to the said university because of the new rules.
Through lawyer Dennis Juma, the college moved to court on April 24 seeking to halt implementation of the said regulations but the sued parties have not yet responded to the suit.
They claimed that the implementation of the regulations will be illegal.
The said regulation came into existence after Parliament enacted the University Act and granted powers to the Education CS to formulate laws concerning higher learning institutions.
Mr Juma told High Court judge Weldon Korir that following the enactment, the Education CS issued new university regulations meant to be effected on June 17, 2014 but higher learning institutions like Highlands had a one year period to comply till June 2015.
But on April 16, Mr Juma said, CUE issued a notice on a local daily paper indicating that any local university, which at the start of these regulations would still be offering programmes with a local tertiary institution, shall cease admission of new students.
“It is because of the regulations and the newspaper notice, 300 students from Highlands College have been denied admission at the Maasai Mara University, they have been innocently deprived off an opportunity to pursue their education right,” said Mr Juma.
CUE had earlier indicated that from next month, no local university would be allowed to collaborate with a foreign one in offering academic courses without the commission’s authority.
According to the regulations, foreign colleges are now required to apply for accreditation as private universities and have to prepare an annual as well as a five-year self-assessment report on the steps taken to achieve the objectives for which they were established.
The regulations also require the commission to accredit all foreign universities intending to offer degrees in the country.
The college is apprehensive that they would be slapped with heavy penalties that may be imposed on them for noncompliance with the new laws, besides the loss to the students.
Any person who disobeys the said regulations is liable to a fine not exceeding a million shillings.
In the case of a continuing offence, one is required to pay Sh50,000 per day for every day in which the offence continues, or be imprisoned for at most two years.
The case will be heard on Thursday.