Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha on Tuesday ordered universities to stop offering irrelevant courses.
The CS said the country should be worried about the qualifications of students graduating from Kenya's universities.
He noted that a number of both public and private universities are suffering from duplication of irrelevant courses and are opening campuses across the country.
“The current system has allowed universities to start offering so many irrelevant courses which do not correspond to market needs. This must be addressed,” he said.
“A university is supposed to be a citadel with adequate faculty teaching in specific areas and doing research and course-based training,” he also said.
He spoke at Kenyatta University in Nairobi during a pre-conference themed 'University positioning: preparedness and its role in the ongoing education reforms seeking inclusion and equity'.
Prof Magoha proposed that the institutions turn their small, unsustainable campuses into constituent colleges.
He noted this is one of the education sector reforms the ministry has been pursuing to ensure universities offer quality education that matches market needs.
The CS further pointed out that some universities are unable to sustain their companies while others lack qualified academic staff to teach the many courses they are offering, resulting in compromises which affect the quality of education.
The reforms will ensure that only relevant staff and courses are retained, he said.
The CS further noted that most of the institutions are insolvent, thus unable to pay their employees.
“We have to get our universities back by ensuring the ratio of academic staff to non-teaching staff is 70: 30 ,” he said, noting that so far, the ratio of academic staff to that of other employees is 14:18.
He said, however, that so far, 10 universities have started reducing their numbers of non-teaching staff.
In June, the CS gave universities two weeks to prepare a list of institutions to be merged and those to be shut down.
He also held a closed-door meeting with the vice chancellors and finance officers of the 31 chartered public universities and seven university colleges and discussed measures to be taken.
The vice-chancellors are expected to submit a report on the proposed mergers and come up with the number of academic and non-academic staff to be laid off, programmes to be merged and campuses to be closed.
The CS also directed the Commission for University Education (CUE) to submit its report on the merger on July 31.
Prof Magoha said the universities merger is in readiness for the competency-based curriculum.
But he said, “This university merger is myopic. It is not for professor like me to engage in discussing because it is a non-entity. If it is to come, the process must be through."