Five universities lose engineering accreditation

Scores of engineering students in Kenya face the prospect of not having their qualifications recognised after the Engineers Board of Kenya reduced the number of accredited institutions to nine universities.

Five universities lost their status as engineering institutions, meaning that students studying towards qualifications from these institutions will not be recognised by the board. In addition, institutions teaching engineering courses without accreditation face the prospect of criminal action.

“The board wishes to bring to the attention of the general public that it will only register persons who have pursued courses it has accredited,” said the Engineers Board of Kenya (EBK) in an announcement on 23 February.

The board warned that it would be an offence for any institution to admit students for an engineering qualification not recognised as a registered provider. Offenders would be convicted and liable for a fine of up to US$50,000 or imprisonment of up to five years, or both.

EBK Registrar Nicholas Musuni told University World News the accreditation means students graduating from universities not recognised by EBK would not be given a certificate to practice in or beyond the borders of Kenya.

The accredited universities include: the University of Nairobi, Moi University, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Egerton University, Dedan Kimathi University of Technology, Kenyatta University, Technical University of Mombasa, Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, and the Multimedia University of Kenya.

Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology, Meru University of Science and Technology, South Eastern Kenya University, Technical University of Kenya and the University of Eldoret were excluded.

In terms of the Engineers Act 2011, it is an offence for any person admitting students into an institution under his/her charge that purports to be conducting an engineering course that is not recognised by the board. Musuni said the universities have been accredited based on the adequacy and relevance of the engineering programmes being offered.

“The board only identified and approved the universities that met the criteria for accreditation for their engineering courses. These criteria are formulated to provide graduates with an education satisfying the academic requirements for registration, based on the capacity of the university to run the programme in terms of the programme and curriculum design, training facilities and infrastructure and the qualification of the teaching staff,” said Musuni.

Vice-chancellor of Eldoret University, Teresa Akenga, told University World News that the university was still consulting on the matter of the institution’s accreditation.

“The first cohort of over 60 engineering students graduated last year and this was after receiving approval from EBK. We are yet to establish the reasons why our university is not among those that were accredited,” said Akenga.

Students at the university have embarked on protests, missing out on lectures as a result.

This is not the first time that the board has denied accreditation to institutions. In 2015, students at private higher education provider Masinde Muliro University, protested the EBK decision not to register the engineering course because of its failure to tailor its curriculum to the board requirements.

All practising engineers in Kenya must hold membership of the two engineering bodies in the country – the Engineers Board of Kenya and the Institute of Engineers of Kenya. Both organisations operate as one entity.