New Bill Seeks to Scrap Diploma, Certificate Courses from Universities

February 14, 2024

Should Parliament approve proposals by Embakasi Central legislator Benjamin Gathiru, basic diploma and certificate courses may be abolished from university academic programs.

The newly published Universities (Amendment) (No 5) Bill 2023 suggests that universities should, instead, focus on offering postgraduate diplomas and postgraduate certificate courses.

This proposal aligns with the recommendations outlined in the report submitted last year by the Presidential Working Party on Education Reforms (PWPER). The task force, appointed by President William Ruto, aimed to address longstanding challenges in the country’s education sector.

In his Bill, Mr. Gathiru emphasizes that universities, as institutions of higher learning and academic research, are intended to focus solely on degree and postgraduate programs.

“The principal objective of this Bill is to amend the Universities Act, 2012 to end the practice of universities offering certificate and diploma courses. This is informed by the fact that currently there are two bodies certifying certificate and diploma courses and this leads to inconsistencies in the content and duration of the courses,” Gathiru states.

“Further, limiting certificate and diploma courses to technical and vocational colleges will increase enrolment in these institutions. The technical and vocational colleges usually record low enrolment numbers despite the government investing heavily in these institutions.”

If the legislative proposal is approved, students currently pursuing diploma and certificate courses in universities would be allowed to complete their programs, with the restriction only applying to new enrollments.

“Notwithstanding the provisions of sub-section (1) (e), a university may continue to offer diploma and certificate courses to a student undertaking a certificate or diploma course before the commencement of this Act,” the Bill reads.

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