Kisii University in Trouble for Failing to Close Down 10 Campuses as Directed by CUE

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Kisii University staff Matiangi Helb

Kisii University, whose 10 campuses were ordered closed last year for failing to meet quality standards, is in the spotlight again after it failed to implement remedial measures recommended by an advisory team in a one-year deadline, which expires this month.

The university was found to have campuses without adequate facilities and lecturers.

It also admitted students irregularly and did not have the means to offer postgraduate studies.

Even more worrying, the campuses were set up without the approval of the university council and the chancellor.

Despite recommendations by a ministerial committee, the university continues to run campuses it had been ordered to close.

It has also not fixed the problem of admitting large numbers of doctorate and master’s degree students, some without proper qualifications.

The university is one of three that were found by the Commission for University Education to have campuses with poor standards.

The others were Laikipia and Kabarak universities. Laikipia and Kabarak were faulted for having campuses not conducive for learning.

POOR STAFFING
In a report to Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i recently, the advisory committee indicates that the Kisii University campus in Eldoret had enrolled 78 doctoral students yet it had only two academic staff with PhDs.

Even then, one of the PhDs was questionable, having been obtained just months earlier.

This violated the commission’s National Policy on University Postgraduate Research and Training in Kenya.

The policy says universities should only admit the number of students they can manage without compromising the quality of training and supervision.

The campus had 7,000 undergraduate students in two buildings near the town’s main bus stage.

That breached two quality standards — inadequate resources and a poor learning environment.

Also questioned was how a satellite campus could have more students than those found in some private universities.

However, the campus has now been relocated to new premises in Kapsoya on the outskirts of Eldoret Town.

The grounds were acquired from Laikipia University, which closed its campus there.

The special advisory committee was appointed in January last year to help the universities fix the problems.

QUESTIONABLE PROGRESS
It was chaired by Prof Crispus Kiamba, a former vice-chancellor of the University of Nairobi.

Other members were Prof George Magoha, also a former VC of the University of Nairobi and Prof Patricia Kameri-Mbote of the UoN’s Law School.

Their term ends in February when they are expected to file the final report.

“We have visited the university on several occasions, offered advice and although some actions have been taken, the institution still has much work to do,” says Prof Kiamba.

The commission ordered the closure of 10 campuses of Kisii University, namely, Isebania, Kehancha, Eldama Ravine, Keroka, Nyamira, Ogembo, Migori, Kabarnet, Eldoret and Kapenguria.

The university had an inordinately aggressive 13 campuses for a university fully chartered in 2013.

So far, the university has closed three at Kehancha and Isebania and transferred the students to Migori campus.

It also closed Eldama Ravine Campus and took the students to Kabarnet.

The report is critical of the university’s management obsession with establishment of many campuses.

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