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Schools on commercial buildings risk closure

21 January 2016, 17:02 Samuel Kisika

Nairobi - Campuses run on same buildings with businesses risk closure following proposed changes to the Universities Act 2012 by Parliament.

The proposed amendments awaiting debate and approval by Parliament when it resumes from recess mid next month seek to "streamline the operation of the Act with practical realities" in the management of universities in the country.

The Bill recognizes the important role played by the Commission for University Education (CUE), and Parliament wants to empower it further in the regulation of university education such as accreditation of varsities and approval of education programmes, as well as advising the Eduaction Cabinet Secretary on policies relating to institutions of higher learning.

"Notwithstanding the generality of subsection (1), colleges and campuses of universities shall not share premises with incompatible businesses," reads part of the proposed amendments.

Subsection (1) of the Act outlines sole functions of the university such as developing and offering academic programmes, awarding various academic certificates, and establishing its own campuses and colleges which must conform to standards provided in the regulations once it is granted a Charter.

Read Also: WATCH: 20 University campuses closed over poor standards

CUE is also charged with undertaking regular inspections, monitoring and evaluation of universities to ensure compliance with set standards and guidelines.

The amendments also gives the President powers to vary or revoke a university's Charter in best interest of promoting university education in the country upon recommendation from thenEducation Cabinet Secretary after consulting and agreeing with CUE officials.

Failure by the university to meet the required standards as provided in the Act's regulations is among reasons that would lead to revocation of its Charter.

"If a Charter is revoked ... the Cabinet Secretary shall forthwith cause a notice of revocation to be published in the Gazette, and the university concerned shall cease to be a university at the expiry of one year from the date of the notice," adds the proposed amendment Bill.

The proposed amendment banning campuses from sharing premises with businesses comes at a time when Kisii University's 10 campuses out of 13 have been shut for failure to meet the laid down standards such as learning materials, space, among others.

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