Higher education in Kenya: an assessment of its rapid expansion and future prospects
Gathitu, Margaret W
MetadataShow full item record
The study assessed higher education in Kenya, its rapid expansion and future prospects Higher education is the level . of education that follows the completion of secondary education. It is a tertiary level of education also referred to as further or continuing education. In the Kenyan system of education, university education is the epitome of higher education. Higher education is necessary in generating a pool of highly qualified personnel in various specialised skills and the potential for promoting higher production of human as well as economic capital and other resources in their individual capacities, The role of higher or university education is to provide mature and conscientious graduates with ability and desire to contribute to the development of the sountry and provide for national services which reflect the national and cultural heritages. In the process develop and transmit knowledge and stimulate the intellectual life and cultural development of the country to produce high level labour in scientific and technological fields to meet the social and cultural as well as economic development needs of the nation. Each country no mater how small has its own system of education. There is need for university education and other higher learning institutions to maintain sustainable education developments in order to serve the good of the nation socially, economically and politically while at the same time preserving their unique culture and identity. The Kenya system of education has undergone many changes in policy and curricula since its inception. The system of education has faced challenges in the sector which are solved or implemented through commissions committees, working parties, task forces [starting initially with the Ominde Education Report (1964) that seek to reform education system inherited from colonial powers. The current system of education policy embraces the education for all (EF A) and Millennium Development Goals (MDG's) as well as Vision 2030. The government has a long term policy to provide framework for sustainable competitive and autonomous national university system as contained in Sessional paper No 1 of Government of Kenya 2005. Such a policy will take accounts of comparative strengths of private and public institutions of higher learning with the aim of reducing wastage through unnecessary duplication of course/ programmes especially at the universities. It will also seek to ensure the development of diversified financial base and enhancement of managerial independence in face of the demand of market driven courses and need to meet the ever increasing demand for higher education. At the same time the policy seeks to pay attention to issues of relevance, quality and responsiveness to the market and national priorities which need to be demand driven, of high quality, gender sensitive, technologically informed, research supported democratically managed and globally marketable. The study was carried out in two universities. The University of Nairobi and the Catholic University of East Africa. The University of Nairobi is the first university in Kenya, with a high reputation locally, regionally as well as internationally. It was ranked first in Kenyan universities and second in government parastatals University of Nairobi has undergone many changes in the infrastructure for example opening of new campuses to cater for escalating demand for higher education since the 1980s. Catholic university of East Africa is one of the accredited private universities. It is a regional university which according to the CRE has met all the requirements for expansion for example putting up a state of the art lecture hall and a learning resource centre. The objectives of the study were to assess the changing higher education policy in Kenya establish resources that facilitate higher education, establish student enrolments in both public and private universities; assess curricula in the selected universities, find. out the lecturers and students perceptions of the expansion of higher education and find out the performance of the universities. The study employed descriptive survey research design. It targeted lecturers, students and administrators in the selected universities. Students that were selected were mostly first to fourth year level of both regular and parallel programmes. The target population was 50 lecturers, 20 from Catholic University of East Africa and 30 from the University of Nairobi. 200 students were targeted with 70 from CUEA and 130 from University of Nairobi. Data was collected through questionnaire with both open and close ended questions for lecturers and students. The lecturers questionnaire was handed personally to the selected lecturers and the students questionnaires was handed to them by research assistants.