The Commission for University Education has suffered a setback after the High Court suspended it from accrediting degree programmes.
On Wednesday, the court temporarily stopped the implementation of a law that gives the commission the sole authority to accredit degree courses in universities.
“That pending the hearing or final determination of this application or until further orders of this court, the implementation of section 5 of the Universities (Amendment) Act 2016 is hereby stayed,” ruled Justice John Mativo.
The ruling followed an application by professional bodies, among them, Kenya Medical Laboratory Technicians and Technology Board, and the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentist Board which have sued the Attorney-General and commission terming the amendment illegal.
Justice Mativo set the hearing for February 22.
Section 5 of the Act, which came into force last year, says the commission should handle accreditation of degree programmes but it can engage professional bodies and associations to carry out inspection of universities on its behalf.
“A person who without the authority of the commission under this Act purports to accredit or collect a fee commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding Sh2 million or imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or both,” states the Act.
This means that the more than 19 professional bodies have no role in what is taught in universities.
There has been a crisis in universities, with a number of the institutions suspending courses such as engineering due to disputes with regulatory bodies.