KENYA: Parallel degree courses erode quality, critics say

The quality of education in public universities has been watered down by the introduction of parallel degree programmes, some leaders in the sector have warned and they are calling for urgent measures to stem further decay, reports the Nation. Prime Minister Raila Odinga was first to express concern, saying university education was so commercialised and that it was fast becoming a preserve of the rich.

The University Academic Staff Union said lecturers are overwhelmed by the large number of students and could not deliver to expected standards. The Commission for Higher Education has also stepped into the debate, saying the thirst for money in public universities has tempted them to overlooked practicalities when admitting students.

Parallel degree programmes are conducted over and above 'regular' courses and charge students full fees, while students on regular courses are largely state-funded. The Nation reports that student numbers on parallel programmes now outnumber those on regular courses.

But university administrators have dismissed those rubbishing the programme initiated 10 years ago, saying that it has contributed immensely to the financial stability of public universities and enabled them to supplement funds received from the Exchequer.
Full report on the Nation site
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