MOE Grilled Over Establishment of ksh. 250m Open University When Existing Universities are Bankrupt
Members of Parliament have raised concern over the proposed establishment of a Sh250million Open University of Kenya.
The legislators questioned the rationale of setting up the Open University of Kenya, which will be domiciled at JKUAT.
The MPs were speaking when the State Department for Higher Education appeared before the National Assembly Education committee on Friday.
The committee vice chairman Malulu Injendi asked why there’s a need to invest in an Open University when existing higher education institutions are suffering.
“You are painting a negative picture of universities. When even Helb and other universities don’t have money, you’re raising money to build an Open University,” Injendi said.
The Malava MP said the government should invest in already existing institutions that struggling to stay afloat.
“I thought you invest in what you already have. Why are you building another one yet we have some struggling? he said.
The government is set to spend Sh250 million in setting up the Open University of Kenya.
The Open University will operate like other institutions but will only have virtual classes and no physical learning.
Kabondo Kasipul MP Eve Obara asked about the concept behind setting up the proposed university.
“Will it finally be a fully-fledged university?” Obara said.
Higher Education Principal Secretary Beatrice Inyangala responded, saying the institution will embrace digital technology.
Inyangala added that the cost of setting up physical infrastructure will have been reduced.
“Here students can move from certificate to degree. It’s a solution for students who have dropped out of university,” she said.
According to a notice in the local dailies, the ministry wishes to work with experts to develop programmes for the first phase.
The courses listed include a Bachelor of Science in Cyber Security and Digital Forensics, Bachelor in Technology Education and Bachelor of Data Science.
Others are Bachelor of Science in Business and Entrepreneurship, Bachelor of Economics and Statistics and Bachelor of Science in Agri-Technology and Food Systems.
Postgraduate diploma courses include Leadership and Accountability, Learning Design and Technology.
Lawmakers also questioned how the Presidential Working Party on Education Reforms is spending the Sh236 million allocated to the team.
In September 2022, President William Ruto appointed a 49-member team to spearhead education reforms.
The team was allocated Sh236 million under the Ministry of Education.
MP Injendi asked ministry officials to list activities done by the task force.
“Make us understand what activities are done by this team that they have been allocated Sh236million, we want to know,” he said.
The Malava MP was speaking when the State Department for Early Learning and Basic Education appeared before the education committee.
The department PS Belio Kipsang promised to take the committee through an elaborate explanation of the terms of reference for the task force.
“We will take you through terms of reference, work plan and budget,” Kipsang said.
He committed to submitting the task force work plan before the end of the day.
The 49-member team gazetted by President Ruto will address three major issues on the Competency-Based Curriculum.
The task force will submit recommendations in the basic education sector, on CBC and the higher education sub-sector.