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Thika-Based University Among Three Institutions Facing Deregistration Over The Fake Degrees Saga.

An animated file picture of a university graduation.
The Commission for University Education (CUE) has written to Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i recommending that three private universities be stripped of their authority to offer degrees following a quality audit and inspection conducted in January.

Thika-based Gresta University, Kiriri Women’s University of Science and Technology in Nairobi and Kajiado’s East African University risk having their Letters of Interim Authority not renewed by the Ministry of Education if CS accepts the Commission’s recommendation, leading to an immediate ban on all admissions to the three universities.

In such circumstances, these institutions will only be permitted to do what is referred to a “teach-out” period, which only allows them to run programmes for two years so as to enable the students currently in their second year to complete their four-year degree courses.

Dr. Matiang’i is currently on a one-week US tour.

Gresta University is associated with Mombasa Governor Hassan Ali Joho. The embattled governor went to Gresta University for his second bachelor’s degree where he was admitted on the strength of a degree he was awarded by a Ugandan institution.

Even though this decision seems to be unrelated to the controversy surrounding the Mombasa Governor, the CUE’s audit has found the institution to have committed malpractices, including admission of new students of lower grades to pursue degree or diploma courses.

Sources privy to the CUE audit revealed that Gresta University was guilty of examination malpractices which included cases where students were compensated marks drawn from entirely different units to make them pass the failed units. The university was also accused of awarding degrees to students who did not meet the minimum set instructional hours.

Quality audits are a statutory function of the commission.

Joho was last week questioned by police investigating the authenticity of examination papers’ allegedly presented to Nairobi University in his name, which showed he scored a C+ in in 1993. The governor has since disowned the C+ examination slip, declaring that he had scored a mean grade of D- in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE).

Vice Chancellor Kuria Thuo earlier defended their decision to admit Joho for a commerce degree.

Concern over the quality of degrees offered by Kenyan universities has been sparked by the increase over the past decade in accredited universities even though there is a severe shortage of lecturers. Related to this has been suspicion that universities were relaxing admission terms to increase student numbers — and earn money from tuition fees — while at the same time granting undeserved degrees. 

Some students were in the years 2012 to 2016 awarded credit transfers irregularly in some universities. It is not clear if the affected universities have responded to the allegations with a view to having them corrected in case the facts had been wrongly captured during the audit.

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