Probe varsity admissions

All is not well in the higher education sector, especially in the tertiary colleges and universities. The biggest challenge is funding, allocation of students to the various universities and selection of the beneficiaries of scholarships and bursaries. The government is struggling to keep key services, especially education, running.

The Commission for University Education (CUE) has been questioned over the allocation of the 277,000 First Year university slots. Doubts have arisen over whether some institutions can handle the slots they have been given in the 2024/25 placement cycle for the public and private universities.

An institution should have adequate capacity to give value for the resources committed. The National Assembly’s Committee on Education has, for instance, questioned how one university was allowed to admit 17,000 students without proof of its capability. The MPs doubt if it has adequate academic staff, facilities and infrastructure to cater for the huge population.

Alarmingly, this institution purports to have a higher capacity than its older and more established counterparts. Top CUE officials were at great pains to explain the apparent discrepancy. But it should worry all that, when push comes to shove, such an institution will not be able to fully cater for the enrollment.

Ideally, the CUE should have checked and confirmed whether the institutions can cater for the numbers allocated to them. Universities are required to declare their capacities to the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (Kuccps) and the CUE approves on confirming the capacity. It is important that this requirement is strictly enforced.

To ensure quality education in a conducive environment, universities should be allowed to admit only the number of students they can adequately cater for.