TRANSFORMING HIGHER EDUCATION IN KENYA BY CREATING CENTRES OF EXCELLENCE IN UNIVERSITIES

Harriet Wambui Njui

Abstract


The global call for an inclusive and equitable quality education for sustainable development is a grand step in ensuring that all children have an opportunity to unleash their potential in education and that they are empowered to participate in the development agenda of their society. In response to the call, current reforms in education in Kenya and across the world demand creating pathways to access learners to areas of interest, ability and talent in an effort to ensure that education is structured to enable individual learners realize their potential regardless of location, economic status, religion and race. The reforms place demands on universities to establish their ‘nitch’ so that each becomes a centre of excellence in a certain area of specialization by which it is known, rather than the current situation in Kenya for instance, where universities are offering similar degree programmes. This has led to a very stiff competition over students’ admission to the programmes as illustrated by the rigorous marketing in different forms of media by different universities for virtually the same programmes. A learning institution distinguishes itself as a centre of excellence by maintaining the highest standards of education through exemplary leadership; employing learner-centred teaching methods and differentiated assessments; engaging students in research and training; requiring them to engage in community service and putting in place structures and mechanisms for feedback to ascertain that quality and standards are maintained by all departments. This paper reviews literature on the structures and processes universities have put in place to qualify them to be centres of excellence with a view to making recommendations on how universities in Kenya could establish themselves as centres of excellence.

 

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quality education, centre of excellence, 21st century skills

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