About 500 students from the University of Eldoret might be expelled from the university after they staged a boycott of lectures due to lack of accreditation of their courses.
The students from the university’s Engineering department were were picked by the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS) for the slots, no longer go to class, demanding that the Engineers Board of Kenya (EBK) approve the courses.
For one month, the students have not been going to class and they also refused to sit end-of-semester examinations. The institution has now warned them that they risked being expelled.
According to a memo from the institution’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic Affairs) Ruth Otunga, “attendance of lectures, tutorials, seminars, practical sessions, field trips and other such scheduled courses of instruction is compulsory.”
“It is, therefore, an offense for a group or class to boycott lectures/practicals/fieldwork for more than two days consecutively.
“Such an offense may lead the whole group to be suspended from the university for a specified period.”
The university offers courses in civil and structural, mechanical and production, and agricultural and bio systems engineering and none of them has been approved by EBK thus jeopardizing the future of students as they may not practice what they learn once they graduate.
The board is normally tasked with certifying graduates who are supposed to practice engineering in the country. Before giving accreditation, it looks at the competency of courses offered and facilities at the university.
The stalemate could get out of hand.
On Friday, the students were chased away by armed police officers as they planned to meet the university’s administration to raise their issues.
The students claimed that their concerns had not been properly addressed by the university, saying they had tried all channels but the institution was giving them a deaf ear.
“We decided that we will engage the university in a peaceful manner,” said a Third Year mechanical and production engineering student. “We have never been violent. But whenever we ask to be addressed over these issues, we are given warnings. We are now being told to vacate our rooms.”
They said they were never told about the lack of EBK accreditation before they joined the university.
The first batch of engineering students admitted by the university after it became fully fledged in early 2013, graduated last year without the EBK accreditation.
Last month, when asked whether the university was being considered for accreditation, EBK registrar Nicholas Musini said they would visit the university to assess its facilities and give the way forward.