Universities have until Friday to provide data on student population, lecturers’ research and academic qualifications, number of teachers and graduation list for the past five years in the quest to merge the institutions.
The institutions will provide the data to the Commission for University Education (CUE), which will play critical role in determining the viability of the universities and campuses and ultimately their merger and closure.
The merger of universities and campuses as well as review of academic courses mean that some staff will have to be let go.
Public universities have 27,000 staff with 9,000 being lecturers.
The key focus of the regulator will be the quality of degrees, student-lecturer ratio, adequacy of teaching and learning facilities in universities, qualifications of faculty.
“The commission has already met with the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Education and briefed him on the progress towards achievement of this assignment,” said CUE chief cxecutive Mwenda Ntarangwi.
The universities are also required to indicate the number of international students enrolled, number of PhD students and supervisors, graduation list for the last five years, research outputs by academic staff for the last two academic years and partnerships, among others.
On research outputs, the CUE wants universities to provide details on number of publications in each school or department, number of innovations as well as patents.
The higher learning regulator is also seeking graduation details, listing number of candidates who scored first-class to credit level in different programmes, among others.
The CUE also wants details on PhD students who have completed their studies as well as those still studying together with details of their supervisors.
Public universities have run into financial difficulties and are fighting off claims that the degrees offered, especially Masters and PhDs, are questionable.
Since 2016, several campuses have been shut after lower entry grade cut student population, adversely affecting the lucrative parallel degree programmes in which students paid fees based on market rates. The universities have been the hardest-hit by the sharp drop in the number of Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education candidates scoring the C+ and above, which is required for university entry, further worsening their cash flow.
The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics data shows university enrolment decreased to 426,965 last year from 452,494 in 2016 — a decline of 25,529.
Some of the universities that have shut some of their campuses include Kisii, Laikipia, Moi, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenya Methodist University, Catholic University of East Africa and the University of Baraton.
Others are Co-operative (Meru), Kabarak (Nairobi) and South Eastern Kenya University (Nairobi).