Universities on high alert over fake degrees ahead of polls


The Fountain of Knowledge at University of Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Universities have been put on high alert over the potential acquisition of fraudulent degrees by politicians seeking elective posts ahead of the next General Election.

University Education department said it would caution all universities, the Commission for University Education and the Kenya National Qualifications Authority to strengthen their systems to guard against fraud in the acquisition of certificates and degrees in the run-up to the General Election.

University Education PS Simon Nabukwesi told Parliament that the department is concerned about the likelihood of aspirants infiltrating universities to acquire fake degrees as politicians rush to beat the provisions of the Elections Act 2011.

“You have raised very pertinent issues. We will immediately discuss and take precautionary measures. There are units in which one has to take over a certain period. “I assure you that nobody will get a degree if one enrols from now to the General Election. We shall write cautions to all universities not to admit or issue short-term degree courses,” Mr Nabukwesi told MPs.

Section 22(1A) of the Elections Act states that a person may be nominated as a candidate for an elective post if only the person has a university degree recognised in Kenya.

“This section shall come into force and shall apply to qualifications for candidates in the General Election to be held after the 2017 General Election,” states the Act.

The polls agency has declared that it would not clear anyone seeking any of the six elective positions without a degree.

“We’re very concerned about the quality of education and the authenticity of degrees and certificates being offered by both public and private universities. We are going to correct this going forward,” said Mr Nabukwesi.

The PS told the Public Accounts Committee chaired by Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi that the ministry had discovered that a lecturer is teaching using a fake PhD qualification. “We have found some lecturers have certificates from universities that are not accredited,”he said.