Challenges faced and strategies used by private universities in Kenya’s liberalized higher education
Wambui, Wanyika M.
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Private Higher Education is perhaps the fastest growing segment of post secondary education worldwide. The large majority of literature in the field deals with public higher education. The expanding segment shares some of the challenges facing public higher education but there are also some important differences that need attention. The increased demand for higher education is likely to exert pressure on the need for the expansion in both public and private universities. Response to this challenge invariably involves adoption of strategies, features and attributes of the other. For private universities, it takes the form of shedding traditional religious tags albeit not fully as a direct imperative thereby conforming to secular public universities. In the face of those realities, the study surveyed the strategies adopted by private universities as a result of challenges posed by privatization of university education in Kenya today. Two private universities namely Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA) and Daystar University were studied. Data was collected through questionnaires, interviews and documentary analysis. Respondents included registrars, deans of faculties, lecturers and students. The data obtained was analyzed quantitatively using frequency distributions and percentages. The results from the two universities surveyed showed that private universities in Kenya have had a close look at the great need to reconfigure their current programmes so that they can meet the needs and challenges of the present global world. Private universities have also at some point utilized the community in determining what nature of programmes should be incorporated in their curriculum. Administration and management has also been a major since the religious affiliation has been overtaken by events and professionalism and merit has been the main consideration. Academic staff and students have been considered in exchange programmes hence getting exposure in the outside world. It is hoped that the study findings may help private universities in their reconfiguration as they offer an alternative for expanding access to higher education. Private universities could also be important incubators for innovation and future directions in teaching, administration and programming. In order to be more effective, private universities need to expand their voice in public and academic affairs.