A team from the Engineering Board of Kenya (EBK) led by its Chairman Eng. Mwongera and CEO Eng. Musuni, paid a courtesy call to the Commission for University Education on Wednesday January 22, 2020. Termed as “historic” by some of the members present, the meeting allowed for both regulators to share their plans for working together in order to provide Kenyan students and their institutions the best regulation for quality learning and training. In his remarks to welcome the team from EBK Commission Secretary and CEO, Prof. Mwenda Ntarangwi underscored the need for regulators “to not only work together but also focus on students’ experience in the education system.” “It is not enough to have the best facilities and curriculum. Students interactions with their teachers, opportunities for experiential learning related to their fields of training as well and interactions with their peers, among other factors, are critical for students to be successful after they graduate, he added. Eng. Mwongera echoed Prof. Ntarangwi’s sentiments, adding that EBK was ready to work closely with the Commission to realize their shared goal of producing quality graduates who can effectively serve in their fields of training anywhere in the world. Eng. Mwongera also noted that EBK fully recognizes the mandate of CUE and considers itself a major enabler of the work carried out by CUE in providing quality university education in the country. He added that, “We are here to see how EBK can support CUE to fulfill its role.”
The meeting was by other members of EBK council including Prof. Eng. Silvester Abuodho, Eng. J.M. Matu, Charles Obiero and Eng. Jane Simiyu. They were accompanied by members of staff including Eng. Nicholas Musuni (CEO/Regstrar), Eng. Grace Onyango, Catherine Mungania, and Duncan Mbiu. The meeting was also attended by CUE’s Prof. Jackson Too, the Head of Research Department, Dr. Dorcas Omukhulu, Assistant Commission Secretary, Programme Accreditation, Leah Kaburu, Assistant Commission Secretary, Programme Accreditation, Reynold Njue, planning officer and Evelyn Okewo, Corporate Affairs Officer.
Speaking about the meeting Eng. Musuni noted that it was not the first meeting between CUE and EBK but that this was a high level meeting with important policy consequences. On relating to CUE Eng. Musuni said, “EBK has convergence rather than conflict of interest in serving student needs,” adding that “If EBK is going to examine graduates later for membership into the profession it is important that EBK participates in the preparation of those graduates.” Eng. Musuni raised concerns over what he termed as “reputation risk” whereby most Kenyan professional engineers are not recognised in different parts of the world due to negative perceptions linked to accreditation of the programmes. He noted that was a big challenge the board is trying to address and EBK is working towards ensuring Kenyan engineers do benchmark with best global practices.
The Commission Secretary/CEO (6th left) with Engineering Board of Kenya officials and CUE team after a meeting held in the Commission boardroom on Wednesday 22nd January 2020.
Currently, there are 22 professional bodies collaborating with CUE to approve academic programmes before they are taught by universities. The Universities Act has given the Commission and professional bodies’ mandate to accredit academic programmes.
Prof. Ntarangwi said even as the two entities work together, there is need to infuse the Competence Based Curriculum (CBC) in engineering programmes.
Agreeing with Prof. Ntarangwi’s observations on CBC Eng. Mwongera decried inadequate funding that has hampered teaching of some engineering programmes in universities. “As you are all aware, engineering programmes require lot of capital investment. Consequently, we need proper funding for the programmes and it is time for us to come together as CUE and EBK to lobby for more money to facilitate the training,” Eng. Mwongera said. That way the government can effectively prepare institutions for CBC in engineering prgrammes.
Commission Secretary/CEO Prof. Mwenda Ntarangwi shares his views with the EBK officials during a meeting held in the Commission boardroom on Wednesday 22nd January 2020.
The two bodies agreed that it was important that they work closely in dispensing their respective mandates. This meant that CUE would continue to strictly require that engineering programmes submitted for accreditation were first reviewed and supported by the EBK. “Let me assure you, we will not touch any academic programmes that have not been reviewed by respective professional bodies,” Prof. Ntarangwi told the EBK team. This renewed partnership will streamline the dual accreditation system that in the past resulted in conflict between the two legal entities. The worst hit were engineering programmes offered in various universities which were suspended because they did not meet EBK standards.
From far Left: Prof. Jackson Too, Head of Research, CUE, Dr. Dorcas Omukhulu, Assistant Commission Secretary, Programme Accreditation and Leah Kaburu, Assistant Commission Secretary, Programme Accreditation listen to proceedings during a meeting held in the Commission boardroom between CUE AND EBK.
During the discussions at the meeting Prof. Too said the ongoing revision of university regulations recommends aligning of adequate resources to STEM based courses. He also raised concerns regarding the disconnect that attends between what happens in the classroom and the attachments and internships programmes undertaken by engineering students. Prof. Too said it is up to the universities to track the skills gained at industrial attachments and internships and see whether they match the skills learnt in class.
EBK and CUE team during a meeting between the two entities. The meeting was chaired by Commission Secretary/CEO Prof. Mwenda Ntarangwi.