Students Pursuing Diploma and Certificate Programs in University to Transfer to TVET
Students Pursuing Diploma and Certificate Programs in University to Transfer to TVET. If the reforms team’s suggestion to limit the institutions to just provide degree-granting courses is implemented, universities may suffer yet another setback.
The Presidential Working Party on Education Reforms intends to prohibit all colleges from offering diploma and certificate programs, our team has learned.
While some members of the task group believe that all certificate and diploma programs fit under higher education, others disagree.
These fields may also be taught at colleges of technical and vocational education (TVET) as well as universities. A senior taskforce member asserts that it is true that TVETs cannot instruct college-level subjects.
Others who spoke in response noted that medium colleges, which fall under the TVET category, are present in the majority of universities.
A proposal to “limit universities from offering certificates and diploma courses” was floated, according to education stakeholders present at a validation meeting on June 6, 2023 at the Centre for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education in Africa (CEMSATEA).
If approved, a change to Section 20 (1) (e) of the Universities Act would be made.
Additionally, these levels of academic degrees may only be taught and awarded by medium level colleges with the agreement of both the president and Parliament.
In two court cases from 2015 and 2021, the issue of whether or not universities should be able to offer certificate and diploma programs was raised. The plan reopens that discussion.
The Kenya National Association of Private Colleges (Kenapco) made initial attempts to block the change in 2015, but they were unsuccessful in the High Court, making it possible for institutions to award the degrees.
These alterations to the Universities Act of 2012 were made to make certain clauses of the Charter more clear.
Previously, institutions had the power to grant degrees, including honorary degrees, solely under Section 20 of the institutions Act.
In their case, Kenapco alleged that institutions, which are under the Ministry of Education’s and the Commission of University Education’s (CUE) supervision, had breached their rights by providing illegally obtained certifications, diplomas, and bridging courses.
An injunction was issued against the National Association of Private Universities of Kenya (Napuk) in the legal dispute.
According to a petition that Kenapco filed with the High Court, these are the organizations that the Technical and Vocational Training Authority (Tiveta) Act authorizes to offer degrees, certificates, and bridging courses.
The University Amendment Act of 2014’s Section 20 (1) (e) stipulates that any university may offer diploma and certificate programs.
All universities, public and private, were permitted to provide degrees under the new statute, including postgraduate degrees and “other academic certificates.”
Additionally, the schools were permitted to accept students for honorary and postgraduate degrees as well as degree programs.
Jacob Kaimenyi, who at the time served as the cabinet secretary for education, backed the proposal to limit colleges to solely offering undergraduate and graduate degree programs. He stated that programs leading to certifications and diplomas should still be offered by middle level colleges.
In court records, the organization claimed that the Universities Act of 2012, as amended by the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) Act No. 18 of 2014, violated its legal rights.
Kenapco claims that no stakeholders were consulted or involved in the amendments’ adoption or signing into law.
They contended that “the amendment to section 20 (1) (e) as it was enacted without proper public participation by the people of Kenya, including the petitioner…,” in particular.
Additionally, CUE stated that by depriving schools of the right to fair competition, the amendment discriminated against them while benefiting universities, endangering the commercial viability of institutions.
According to CUE, the changes allowed universities to directly provide diploma and certificate programs, which are and should be the responsibility of Technical and Vocational Training Colleges. This immediately conflicted with the Universities Act and the Technical and Vocational Training Authority Act.
But the discussion didn’t end there. In 2018, the government urgently tried to calm the increasing unrest on college campuses.
Justice Lenaola’s decision had only been in effect for three years.
The petitioner asked that institutions be forbidden from marketing, advertising, promoting, and/or giving out degrees, certificates, and bridge courses.
Kenapco, a lobbying group in the Republic of Kenya with more than 200 member institutions, filed the lawsuit, but Justice Lenaola dismissed it.
The 2014 statute, according to CUE, which backed the Kenapco complaint, made it more difficult for it to continue acting as the body in charge of overseeing higher education.
The amendments were submitted on the National Assembly floor and quickly passed, according to CUE, without seeking input from the general public or other important stakeholders and in spite of the Speaker’s decision to the contrary.
At the time, there was a lot of discussion over whether or not higher education institutions should provide certificate and diploma programs.
It was determined that the statute’s section 20 (1) (e) requires that institutions teach certificates and diplomas at a high-level meeting set for September 2018.
Senior representatives from the Kenya National Qualifications Authority (KNQA) and Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) attended the meeting.
Representatives from the Curriculum Development, Assessment and Certification Council and Kenya Universities and Colleges Placement Service (KUCCPS) were also present.
According to Desai, for the programs to adhere to the requirements specified by the Kenya National Qualifications Authority (KNQA), they must be overseen by the appropriate authorities.
Despite promises from the government, a second lawsuit was filed in 2021 asking for a declaration that Act 8 of 2014, the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendment), was unconstitutional.
The Robinson Kioko case, which would have prohibited colleges from giving certificates and diplomas, was dismissed by the High Court of Nairobi.
According to Kioko’s legal arguments, opening universities to offer courses that ought to be taught in technical colleges and institutes does not fulfill the need for a technical workforce in the nation.
It was later found that allegations that the credentials provided by some institutions were not uniform were what spurred the third attempt to strip universities of their authority.
It came out that some grads had barely spent a few hours studying in actuality.
At the time, the State Department of Vocational and Technical Education’s (TVET) Principal Secretary, Kevit Desai, stated that the government had no intention of prohibiting colleges from awarding certificates and diplomas.
Universities are allowed by law to provide diploma courses. However, Desai continued, we ensure that they hold accreditation from the Technical Vocational Education and Training Authority (TVETA).
According to Justice James Makau’s ruling, individuals must have completed the required number of hours of study in order to enroll in certificate programs and higher.
The judge contends that without the necessary standards and allotted time for each course, the legislation does not grant educational institutions the authority to grant degrees or even to approve advancement to the next level.
According to Justice Makau, “this is not intended for all intents and purposes and intention to be used to permit Universities in Kenya to offer Bridging, or Certificate, or Diploma and Certificates courses contrary to clear provisions; of University Act on the legibility of a student to be admitted for undergraduate, or post graduate diploma, masters, and Doctorate Programmes.”
According to him, the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) Act 2014 forbids universities from in any way issuing credentials that would allow students to be admitted to the university.
Prof. George Maghoha, the cabinet secretary for education, pleaded with the court to dismiss the matter on the grounds that Justice Isaac Lenaola, who is now a justice on the Supreme Court, had previously rendered a decision on it in 2017.