The government is considering doing away with parallel degree programs in public universities due to lack of accountability of funds collected.
According to state house spokesman, Manoah Esipisu, the option of revoking the parallel degree programs is part of the exam reforms currently being undertaken by the Ministry of Education.
“You know with this reform of the exam system, one of the results of that is the potential complete removal of the Parallel structure,” Esipisu said.
“You know very well that there have been issues about accountability in terms of the resources coming out of that parallel structure.” he said
Unlike the regular programme where students are sponsored by the government, which pays 70 per cent of the cost of education through loans from the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB), parallel degree program students are undertaken self-sponsored .
Parallel degrees were started by the University of Nairobi in 1998 and ten years later, the programme was extended to all the seven public universities. The number of students joining the programme has presently outnumbered those in the regular programme.
Esipisu also linked the program to the looming lecturer’s strike, which has paralysed learning in public universities.
“The absence of funding from that parallel structure obviously is something that needs to be looked at in terms of the underlying reasons for the current problems,” he said.
Most universities generate billions of shillings through the parallel programme with some using the monies to pay staff and run certain programmes.
However, last year public universities suffered a major blow following a dismal performance in the 2016 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE), which saw only 88,929 candidates attain the minimum university entry grade of C+ and above, dealing a natural death to the parallel programmes since this meant that all those who qualified would be admitted under the government-funded programme, leaving no single candidate to be enrolled under the parallel programme.