University of Eldoret tense as engineers board knocks

Students will have to wait for a few weeks before regulatory body rules on accreditation status

More than 500 engineering students at University of Eldoret (UoE) in Uasin Gishu county will know their fate in the next one month when Engineers Board of Kenya (EBK) is expected to  give the report and recommendations on accreditation status of their courses.

The anticipation follows last week’s day long inspection of the engineering faculty’s facilities, curriculum, infrastructure, staff capacity and programmes by a team from EBK. 

Led by their chairman Maina Wanjau, the team inspected mechanical and production, civil, structural, and agricultural and biosystem engineering faculties as well as the new library to establish whether the institution has the capacity to offer the courses.

There was tension and anxiety among the university top management and the engineering students as the inspectors toured all the faculties in groups of four. Earlier, Vice Chancellor Prof Teresa Akenga had directed security guards to deny  journalists access to the Engineering block. “We  have strict instructions not to allow you near the Engineering Faculty today,” said a security guard as he escorted the scribes back to the main gate.

Addressing the media later at Boma Inn Hotel in Eldoret town, Wanjau said the inspectors will be exchanging notes from the various departments they had inspected. Their recommendations will later determine whether the university has met the criteria set by board for accreditation.“Engineering students will have to wait for a few weeks before we come up with final report and recommendations on accreditation status of their courses,” said Wanjau.

The chairman said the board will not relent in its quest to ensure all public and private institutions of higher learning meet the criteria set by the board before offering engineering degrees.“Some universities lack relevant laboratories and equipment but are offering engineering courses, jeopardising the future careers of the learners,” he warned.

Wanjau asked parents and guardians to enrol their children only in institutions that are accredited by the board to avoid losing their money to rogue universities that are offering engineering degree courses not registered by the board. “The board will only register students who have pursued degree courses it has accredited. It is therefore illegal for any institution whether public or private to admit learners for purpose of training in any engineering programme not approved by the board,” he said.

Wanjau advised Form Four leavers keen to pursue engineering courses to look out for local universities whose programmes are  accredited by the board. “We want to ensure the engineers that are produced in our institutions are recognised globally but not half-baked ones.  This is why we are hard on universities that fail to meet the minimum board’s requirements with respect to programme design and curriculum content,” he said.

However, he declined to reveal any loopholes in the engineering programmes at University of Eldoret  during their inspection tour. The board officials had also used the opportunity to cool down rising tension among the students.

Wanjau said the institution has made significant strides areas of infrastructure, citing the construction of a Sh72 million state-of-the-art engineering complex and a library.

Vice chancellor Prof Teresa Akenga said she was eagerly waiting for the outcome of the board’s verdict regarding the accreditation of their engineering degree programmes. “I have no comment about the inspection of our engineering faculties by the board as we are waiting the verdict,” she said.

Disgruntled students who boycotted classes since last year have demanded EBK accreditation of their courses as a condition to resume learning. They have also refused to sit end-of-semester examinations with the university management warning them that they risk being discontinued. Those who graduated  last year after being admitted at the institution under Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement body are yet to be registered as engineers by EBK.

The learners had accused the university management of keeping them in dark when they first joined the institution only to learn later on that the degree courses have not been accredited by the board.

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