Knec boss pours scorn on clamour for degrees

Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec) chairman Prof George Magoha
Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec) chairman Prof George Magoha. Photo | TOM OTIENO | NMG 

Top educationist and Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec) chairman, Prof George Magoha, has criticised the rush to convert technical training institutions into universities.

He said Friday that the country risks lacking technicians necessary to support key sectors of the economy.

"It was wrong to convert major technical institutions into universities as they equally play a major role in our society," said Prof Magoha.

"Not everybody should be a graduate. It's absolute nonsense and stupid," he said, adding that the "craze for going for degrees" was destroying the country.

He was speaking during the 8th graduation of the Kisumu National Polytechnic on Friday where he was the chief guest.


Some technical colleges that have been turned into universities include the Kenya Polytechnic (now Technical University of Kenya) and Mombasa Polytechnic (now Technical University of Mombasa).

Other institutions that have joined the league of conversion are Mosoriot Teachers College that will be a campus of Koitalel Samoei University College and the Kenya Science Teachers College, now a campus of University of Nairobi among others.

'Killed technical courses'

These changes were brought on by the desire to provide varsity education to far flung places. However, Prof Magoha has criticised the way the colleges eventually killed off technical courses offered at certificate level.

He argues that technical schools can focus on working towards producing their own degree graduates without necessarily having the institutions converted into universities.

Director of Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET), Dr Meshack Opwora, said they were working on ensuring each of the 290 constituencies get a technical college.

"We shall equip them with state of the art equipment to help in trainings, practical and production works," Dr Opwora said.

He also said that plans are afoot to ensure all youth who are employed are absorbed and trained so that they become productive.

"We have already advertised for this and the deadline for absorption is March 28. We want to equip them with necessary skills to be able to earn a living," he added.

During the graduation ceremony, 2,124 graduands were conferred with Diplomas and Certificates.

TUK Chief Principal, Joyce Nyanjom, said the 8th graduation ceremony had the highest number of graduands.

She said the institution with more than 5,000 students was seeking to boost it's enrolment numbers.

Dr Opwora said they will ensure more loans are given to needy students through the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB).