Course Accreditation Battle Risks Forcing Thousands Of University Graduates Back To Class.
The agency that regulates universities has threatened to take action against professional bodies pushing for academic course approval, escalating the dispute over degree and diploma accreditation.
The move by professional bodies to undermine court rulings and the law, according to Chacha Nyaigotti-Chacha, Chairperson of the Commission for University Education (CUE), is criminal.
Last year, the Court of Appeal ruled that CUE is the sole body tasked with regulating standards and accrediting courses, in consultation with individual universities and possibly professional bodies.
Despite the ruling, some professional bodies are still seeking to accredit university courses, it has been revealed.
“We’re not asleep. We’ll take action against bodies that usurp our mandate because their actions are criminal,” Prof Chacha said. “We’re not operating a clandestine system, and the law is very clear on persons or institutions that are in breach.”
Persons who accredit and audit courses outside the CUE face a fine of up to Sh2 million or a maximum prison sentence of two years under the Universities Act.
In addition, the law states that CUE may consult with professional bodies and associations in its role of regulating courses and inspecting universities. Prof Chacha stated that CUE consults with professional bodies on course accreditation and will continue to do so.
He was responding to comments made by the Engineers Board of Kenya (EBK) Chief Executive Officer Margaret Ogai, who claimed that some engineering courses in universities are not accredited.
Ms Ogai made the remarks on Thursday while testifying before the National Assembly Education Committee. She believes it is a waste of resources for students to enrol in unaccredited courses if they will not be accepted upon graduation.
Prof Chacha, on the other hand, believes that both the High Court and the Court of Appeal rulings are clear and should be followed.
Prof Chacha stated that professional bodies should stay away from universities, but that they will always be consulted during course accreditation.
The standoff threatens to send thousands of university graduates back to school for remedial courses after they failed to obtain practising certificates. Graduates may be required to pay additional tuition fees, which is an unjust outcome given that it was not the students’ fault in the first place.
ERB has refused to recognize engineering specializations offered by well-known institutions such as the University of Nairobi, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Egerton University, and Kenyatta University.
The universities regulator and professional bodies had signed a memorandum of understanding to end the impasse, but Attorney-General Kihara Kariuki ruled that the agreement was illegal.
Course Accreditation Battle Risks Forcing Thousands Of University Graduates Back To Class