On Wednesday, 28 July, the High Court awarded Ksh15 million in compensation to 75 graduates who sued the Technical University of Kenya (TUK) over the quality of the degree.
The applicants lamented that their degree was not recognized by the Engineers Board of Kenya (EBK), leaving them unemployed.
Magoha plans to scrap degree
In April 2019, Education CS George Magoha cautioned students against enrolling in 98 courses that were at risk of being scrapped.
A year later in June 2020, he ordered an audit into the 10-degree courses he wanted to drop. This happened when fewer candidates applied for the courses while others attracted zero placements.
These courses include Bachelor of Science in Entrepreneurship, Theology, Bachelor of Science (Energy Technology), Bachelor of Science in Automotive Technology, Bachelor of Technology in Building Construction, Bachelor of Technology in Renewable Energy and Bachelor of Technology in Mechanical Engineering.
The others were Bachelor of Science (Aquatic Resources Conservation and Development with IT, Bachelor of Science in Animal Production and Bachelor of Science (Ocean Science).
With the introduction of Competence-Based Curriculum (CBC), many degree courses may be abolished to align with the new education system. The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) scrapped the Bachelor of Education degree in May 2021, directing teachers to pursue a Bachelor of Arts course or Bachelor of Science.
After graduation, they will enroll in one year postgraduate course before getting cleared to apply for TSC no. CS Magoha supported the move.
Professor Alfred Omenya, a professional architect, has shared intrigues into how tertiary facilities create controversial degrees that disadvantage graduates seeking job opportunities.
Omenya is a former lecturer at the University of Nairobi (UoN) and Technical University of Kenya (TUK) in addition to being the Chief Executive Officer of Eco-Build, an architecture firm.
The scholar detailed how new universities tended to create strange degree names which are unknown in the market. He cited that he once reportedly disagreed with TUK management over the issue.
Omenya stated that, as the founding Dean of the School of Architecture and the Built Environment, he stuck with global norms. The professor stated that in architecture, there are only three types of degrees recognised globally.
These are BSc Architecture which is a six-year course, Bachelor of Architectural Studies is attained after four years and Bachelor of Architecture or M.Arch -a professional degree attained after two more years of study.
“There is an appalling proliferation of names for engineering degrees in Kenya, like Bachelor of Technology in Engineering; Bachelor of Engineering Science (is there Engineering Art?); Bachelor of Engineering in Structure and Construction. Buyer Beware!
“I refused to start a programme on Bachelor of Infrastructure Planning. I also refused to start a Bachelor’s Degree in Tropical Architecture/ Environmental Design. I told the management that this is akin to becoming a Pediatric Cardiologist without being a Medical Doctor/ General Practitioner first,” Omenya tweeted.
He argued that some of the ‘degrees’ are just topics in the main courses. For example; Environmental Planning, Infrastructure Planning, Rural Planning, are areas of study in Urban and Regional Planning which one can specialise in later years.
“While innovation is important, new universities should start from the known to the unknown. If they start from the unknown, I am telling them for free, nobody will want to be associated with their products!
“This puts their students at a huge disadvantage. That is the way the world runs,” he cautioned.