Varsity watchdog softens stand on PhD requirement

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The Commission for University Education (CUE) has softened its stand on lecturers being doctorate degree holders following the quashing of the directive by the Labour Court last week.

CUE chairman Chacha Nyaigoti Chacha said the commission is reviewing the guidelines and would engage lecturers before coming up with acceptable standards.

“We will sit with the University Academic Staff Union (Uasu) officials to get their input but we must maintain quality,” Prof Nyaigoti said.

Justice Stephen Radido declared the guidelines null and void following a case filed by Machakos University lecturers dons early in the year.

The regulations were developed in 2014 and required those without doctorate degrees to vacate classes by October 2019.

However, the court said lecturers as primary stakeholders were not consulted when the rules were being developed.


A report released by CUE early this year showed that a majority of lecturers are holders of master’s degrees.

The report indicated that 53 per cent of the academic staff have a master’s qualification while PhD holders made up just 32 per cent.

Uasu had asked the Employment and Labour Relations Court to declare the harmonised criteria and guidelines for appointment and promotion of lecturers invalid, “since they breach the Constitution and the 2007 Employment Act”.

At the same time, every university would be required to prepare and submit to the commission a detailed report every five years on the steps it has taken towards the achievement of the objectives for which it was established.

“The government will also establish a specialised degree awarding institution if it is of strategic national importance as declared by the Cabinet, offers or intends to offer academic programmes considered to be of national strategic importance and has adequate and appropriate facilities for training at degree level in the specified area of focus,” state the 2019 regulations.

“The President may on the recommendation of the Education Cabinet Secretary and with the approval of Parliament, award a charter to establish a specialised degree-awarding institution.”

It adds that a constituent college would after three years of its establishment, apply to the commission for award of charter.

The commission will engage professional agencies and/or associations when accrediting professional academic programmes, according to the regulations.

A university or a specialised degree awarding institution would not launch any academic programme without prior accreditation or approval by the Commission on University Education.

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