MP in push to scrap diploma, certificate courses in universities

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Basic diploma and certificate courses will be scrapped from university academic programmes if Parliament approves proposals by Embakasi Central legislator Benjamin Gathiru.

In a newly published Universities (Amendment) (No 5) Bill 2023, the MP proposes that universities instead offer postgraduate diplomas and postgraduate certificate courses.

The proposal rhymes with the recommendations contained in the report submitted last year by the Presidential Working Party on Education Reforms (PWPER), a task force that had been appointed by President William Ruto to address the challenges that had for long years bedevilled the country’s education sector.

In their report, PWPER members sanctioned that universities be barred from offering certificates and diplomas so they can focus on degree programmes for optimum quality.

In his Bill, Mr Gathiru notes that universities are intended to be institutions of higher learning and academic research, interpreting the scope as meaning that they should only offer degree and postgraduate programmes.

“The principal objective of this Bill is to amend the Universities Act, 2012 to end the practice of universities offering certificate and diploma courses. This is informed by the fact that currently there are two bodies certifying certificate and diploma courses and this leads to inconsistencies in the content and duration of the courses.” it reads.

“Further, limiting certificate and diploma courses to technical and vocational colleges will increase enrollment in these institutions. The technical and vocational colleges usually record low enrollment numbers despite the government investing heavily in these institutions.”

If the legislative proposal sees the light of day, there will be no new enrollments for diplomas and certificates in the universities. Students currently undertaking diploma and certificate courses in universities will be allowed to complete as the doors will only be slammed on new enrolments.

“Notwithstanding the provisions of sub-section (1) (e), a university may continue to offer diploma and certificate courses to a student undertaking a certificate or diploma course before the commencement of this Act,” reads the Bill.

In its report which was handed in last August, the PWPER led by Raphael Munavu shared similar sentiments noting that Universities have been contributing to a low number of students enrolling in colleges because they compete in offering similar courses.

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