HIGHER EDUCATION TRAJECTORY IN KENYA: HISTORICAL LESSONS AND PROSPECTS FOR UNIVERSITIES
Purpose of the Study: Since independence, higher education has undergone a complete metamorphosis from a colonial inherited system to a highly advanced Kenyanized and diversified system. In terms of numbers; within the 60 years of independence, higher education has expanded from one university to close to 30 public universities and almost an equivalent number of constituent colleges plus private universities. This paper thus delved into the terrain that has characterized university education since independence. The objectives of the study included: tracing the development of higher education since independence to present; examining the major shapers of university education during the Kenyatta, Moi, Kibaki and Uhuru regimes and to analyze the major issues affecting university education in Kenya.
Statement of the Problem: Since independence, university education has witnessed tremendous growth in terms of the increase in their numbers and the enrolments. However, university education has also been the subject of the political changes and other dictates which have taken place in the country.
Research Methodology: The study employed desktop review in which the historical method was used in collecting and analyzing data; most of which was qualitative. The data was in form of both primary and secondary data; it encompassed: expert reports such as Commission findings, Development Plans, Legislations affecting higher education, journal articles, authoritative books and articles together with internet sources. Analysis was done thematically by grouping the data in historical periods for convenience and chronologically detailing the events in each of the periods while describing the salient issues.
Result: The study was able to establish that the shapers of university education since independence are: need to churn out skilled manpower; need to Kenyanize higher education; political infiltration and patronage and the need to respond to the growing appetite for higher education. The major challenges and debates facing university education revolve around quality, relevance, tribalism and unbridled expansion without consummate facilities.
Conclusion: It is anticipated that this research will contribute towards the debate on higher education with a view of originating concrete-historically anchored proposals for the present and future discourse and action.
Recommendation: There is need to delink politics from the affairs of the university, especially management. Best practices from universities that have high standards need to be domiciled.
Keywords: Higher Education, History, Trajectory.
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