Why Commission for University Education gave university launch wide berth

President Uhuru Kenyatta lays a foundation stone for the construction of Koitalel Samoei University in Nandi Hills. The University will offer Law and Commerce as it’s specialty. The President and his Deputy William Ruto are in a campaign tour of the North Rift region ahead of the August 8th General Elections. 12-06-2017. PHOTO BY: KEVIN TUNOI

Confusion surrounds the legal status of a new university college whose foundation stone was laid by President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday.

Uhuru laid the foundation stone for Koitalel Samoei University College at the spot where Koitalel arap Samoei, the supreme chief of the Nandi, was tricked and killed by the British in 1905.

But the conspicuous absence of senior Commission for University Education (CUE) officials during the groundbreaking ceremony has raised questions on whether the regulator sanctioned the project.

More confusion emerges from the fact that the Education ministry had put a caveat on establishing new universities in the country.

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The absence of CUE officials at the ceremony also attended by Deputy President William Ruto and Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i raised the red flag on the legal status of the new institution.

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A status report seen by The Standard reveals that CUE had raised four key points that needed to be addressed before the kick-off of the campus’s construction.

The brief on accreditation status, dated June 8, reveals that CUE wanted the land transfer process finalised and concurrence obtained from the Ministry of Education on the alienation of land.

CUE also wanted the transfer of land and facilities of Mosoriot Teachers Training College to the University of Nairobi (UoN) to hold it in trust.

The brief by CUE chairperson Chacha Nyaigotti Chacha says that the commission received a letter from the Ministry of Education confirming that UoN would be the mentoring institution for the proposed Koitalel University College.

As part of preparations for accreditation, UoN was supposed to provide the requisite range of facilities, especially lecture rooms, administrative and academic officers.

The fourth requirement by CUE was a Master Plan for the proposed university college.

The plan was to contain a time-line on how the land and facilities of Mosoriot teachers Training College would be converted to the proposed university college.

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It is not clear whether the four salient issues were addressed before Monday’s ceremony.

Sources at the ministry hinted at a split of opinion between CUE and Jogoo House on accreditation of the institution.

“What I can tell you is that there is a problem,” said the official.

The accreditation tiff comes at a time Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i has continuously maintained that a ban on setting up of new university campuses was in effect.

The university college, which starts off as a constituent of the University of Nairobi, will be constructed at the cost of Sh3.4 billion.

The commission acknowledges a letter from the education ministry notifying it that Mosoriot Teachers Training College was available for conversion to a campus of UoN.

The letter also revealed Samoei Secondary School had donated 100 acres to the proposed university college.

 

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