By Claire Wanja/Statement
The government has set up a standing committee to harmonise the accreditation of professional and technical programmes in institutions of higher learning.
The committee, code-named Programme Accreditation Consultative Committee, (PACC), will be the vehicle to address the statutory conflicts that has seen professional bodies refusing to approve programmes that Universities and colleges offer, a move that has created anxieties among students and parents.
The Cabinet Secretary for Education, Dr. Fred Matiang’i said the committee will be the vehicle to review pending cases surrounding programmes that caused disagreements between professional bodies and the Universities.
The Cabinet Secretary said it will also be charged with the responsibility to review programmes that have difficulties in terms of acceptability in the light of changing industry complexities.
The formation of the Committee follows disagreements between professional organisations, notably the Engineers Registration Board (ERB) and the Council of Legal Education (CLE) over the training of Engineering and Law programmes in some universities.
The Cabinet Secretary for Education convened the meeting to explore ways and means of resolving the stalemate to allay the fears and anxieties among the students and parents of students who have enrolled in the programmes. Representatives of 17 professional bodies, with the exception of representatives of the Council for Legal Education (CLE), attended the meeting at the Ministry of Education headquarters at Jogoo House in Nairobi today.
Dr. Matiang’i said the stakeholders in higher education should be positive by looking for solutions to allay the fears and confusion students and parents were having.
“Ours is a public trust which all of us must discharge in ways that does not hurt the country,” Dr. Matiang’i who was flanked by the Principal Secretary for Higher (University) education, Prof. Collette Suda, said.
Dr. Matiang’i also said that PACC could provide a forum under which stakeholders could discuss the quality and relevance of professional programmes the higher education institutions were having in the light of industry needs.
He said PACC, to be chaired by Professor Suda, would be the instrument to address any issue surrounding the disharmony between the standards professional bodies require and that Commission for University Education (CUE).
“We should not wait for professional bodies to outlaw a programme or students to riot over non-accreditation of a programme by a professional body, before we meet to address a problem,” Dr. Matiang’i noted.
The standing committee, Dr. Matiang’i noted, should act as one-stop shop for all information regarding the accreditation status of professional programmes.
The Standing Committee will comprise of the Engineers Registration Board, Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board, Architectural Association of Kenya, Council of Legal Education, Kenya Medical Laboratory Technicians& technologist Board, Institute of Surveyors, Pharmacy and Poisons Board, Kenya Nutritionists Institute, Kenya Veterinary Board, Veterinary and Research Laboratories, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Chartered Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
Public Universities will be represented by the Vice Chancellor, Moi University, and Prof. Richard Mibey while the Vice Chancellor of Scott Christian University, Prof. Mumo Kisau will represent Private Universities.
Other members include the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service and the Commission for University Education (CUE) which accredits Universities and programmes some of which have been source of disagreements between it and professional organisations.
Dr. Matiang’i said higher education institutions and professional organisations will serve Kenyans, students and parents better through constant consultations through this committee.
Moi University Chancellor, Prof. Mibey said the Universities appreciated the role of professional bodies in quality control of programmes in the light standards, noting that both were partners in development for the benefit of all Kenyans.
He, however, expressed the need for professional handling of the statutory conflicts over the accreditation of the programmes, without politicizing the issues will serve the interest of all parties involved.
“We must pull together and not pull apart while addressing the issue,” Prof. Mibey noted.
Chairman, Engineers Board of Kenya Eng. D M. Wanjau, welcomed the initiative, saying the Board was keen on the human resource capacity an institution had to steer a programme, apart from having acceptable course content and the physical infrastructure to facilitate instruction.
Dr. Matiang’i, however, observed that Kenyans expect leadership from all stakeholders to provide quality education without causing the anxieties and confusion in the provision of the service to them.
The Chairman of the Commission for University Education, Prof. David Some was also in attendance.