It is time to end this farce of vetting courses in universities and colleges - Daily Nation

It is time to end this farce of vetting courses in universities and colleges

Tuesday August 4 2015

For a while now, it has been reported that the fate of thousands of students pursuing engineering courses is uncertain because the Engineers Board of Kenya (ERB), which is charged with offering practising certificates, has disowned degrees from some universities.

At the same time, we hear that the Commission for Higher Education has approved the very courses that ERB disowns. Why are these two fighting wars at the expense of innocent students?

From the look of things, those affected are all from public universities. So why would the government offer courses in its own universities, admit students, then turn around and say that those courses are not recognised?

Are there no conditions that universities must meet before they are allowed to start offering a given course? If yes, why have these universities not been stopped from offering the illegal courses? Why are the said courses on the menu for students to choose from if they are deemed to be bogus?

Moreover, why are we being told at this late hour that these courses are illegal when some students have completed their studies and even graduated? 

If there are requirements to be met, what are the affected universities doing to regularise the courses and avoid inconveniencing the students? Are the senates of these universities at peace with the knowledge that they are offering hopeless degrees?

I am told that Technical University of Kenya (formerly Kenya Polytechnic, Nairobi), which is one of the universities that  ERB is yet to grant accreditation, has some of the best engineering equipment in the country such that  other universities rush there to book attachment lessons  for their students. So, exactly what criteria guide ERB in awarding the accreditation?

JAMES O. KIHALI, Bungoma

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There have been numerous strikes and demos in different universities because of accreditation of courses. Before students are admitted, the government, through the EBK, should tell students which universities are accredited to offer the courses they want.

It makes no sense for an engineering student to spend five years in class, only to be told that the university is not accredited to offer a certain course.

The placement board should be careful when admitting students to these universities and EBK should give legitimate reasons why universities are not accredited to avoid hurting students.

EBK should tell universities what they need to do to be accredited.

RAYMOND MATATA, Technical University