The Great Lakes University of Kisumu will on Friday be awarded a university charter making it the first fully accredited private university based in Nyanza Province.
The institution, which begun as a community-based organisation training healthcare workers in 1979, has grown to reach a student population of 1,200 spread across four campuses.
According to the university’s Vice Chancelor Dan Kaseje, the award of the charter will enable the university to expand its course structure and faculty and accommodate more students.
“We have had suggestions to introduce more undergraduate and post graduate programmes but because of regulatory concerns we could not go beyond our mandate until we got the charter.”
Great Lakes University of Kisumu (GLUK), becomes the third university in Western Kenya after Maseno University and Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, both public universities.
The demand for university education in the region has been increasing with several public and private universities setting up campuses and constituent colleges in urban centres of Kisumu, Kakamega and Kisii.
However, lack of adequate finances has hampered the growth of universities like GLUK, making expansion slow and forcing students from the region to relocate in search of institutions of higher learning.
The Great Lakes University, which is best known for its community health and social education programmes will now be able to include courses like Medicine.
“We plan to start offering degrees in Medicine and later we will institute a Faculty of Law to cater for law students,” states Prof Kaseje.
“The Commission for Higher Education has inspected our programmes in detail and also evaluated our teaching faculty and curriculum and is convinced that we have the capacity to grow and introduce new programmes to provide a local alternative for students not only from Western Kenya but in the great lakes region.”
Notable personalities to have received honorary degrees from the university include Southern Sudan President Salva Kiir, Mrs Rebecca Garang, widow of deceased South Sudanese freedom leader Dr John Garang and Mama Sarah Obama