Universities may soon be barred from admitting diploma and certificate course students to a review of college programs.
Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha suggests that universities should focus on degree courses and research.
The education ministry in a proposal wants diploma and certificate courses reserved for mid-level colleges. Then the huge batch of students will be absorbed by the mid level technical colleges.
The move is set to deal **** for public and private universities as the collapse of module 2 courses has relied on diploma and certificate courses to generate revenue.
Diplomas are also used as a bypass by students who do not qualify for placement at a university to earn a degree.
It could also mean the loss of hundreds of lecturers teaching diploma and certificate courses.
The proposal shows that universities have been indulging in illegality as the diplomas offered by them are not approved by the institutions concerned.
Under the Universities Act, the University Education Commission is responsible for approving the courses to be taught in the institutions.
However, CUE is limited to approving degree courses at the undergraduate, masters and doctoral levels.
On the other hand, Diploma and Certificate courses require accreditation by the Technical and Vocational Training Authority to be recognized.
However, universities cannot take TVETA approval as the institute only works with mid-level colleges.
In 2018 the Kenya National Qualifications Authority warned that diplomas and certificates offered by universities were not recognized.
KNQA Director General Juma Mukhwana said that some universities have started diploma programs that were not registered under the Kenya National Qualifications Framework.
“This puts diploma and certificate courses in universities at risk as the qualification is not accepted outside the country,” Mukhwana warned.
“Most universities are offering diplomas and certificates regardless of whether they are accredited by TVETA nor are they recognized by CUE,” he said.
The proposal has been backed by university and academic staff unions, which argue that institutions have gone back on their mandates to address financial troubles.
USU Secretary General Constantine Vasonga said the move, if implemented, would be an indicator of reforms to align institutions with their original mandate.
“Universities are meant to train critical thinking and problem solving through research. This is why institutions are developed. When they focus on training for diplomas, they give up their core mandate,” Vasonga said.
Wasonga further notes that institutions need areas of expertise and focus.
He says skipping diploma and certificate courses would be one way to make this a reality.
He appealed for a significant stakeholder engagement on the concern to avoid possible pitfalls of students in view of the new developments.