Management Challenges Facing Kenya's Public Universities and Implications For the Quality Of Education
Mbirithi, Daniel Mange
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The quality of university education has become such a high profile issue, in the 21st century due to the changes and challenges that face the entire education system in the world. The rise in student population through adoption and application of different modes of learning, have raised concerns about quality of public university education. The study sought to investigate the nature and magnitude of management challenges that face Kenya‟s public universities and their implications for quality education. The study had four research objectives to; determine the nature and magnitude of management challenges facing Kenya‟s public universities in relation to their missions, determine the implications of management challenges on the quality of university education, identify the strategies public universities have put in place to cope with challenges to ensure quality of education and propose strategies the universities can adopt to mitigate the management challenges. This study was both qualitative and quantitative in nature; hence employed descriptive design. The study was carried out in three Kenya‟s public universities which were purposively sampled. The sample constituted the following: 3 vice-chancellors, 8 deputy vice-chancellors, 53 deans of schools, 158 chairpersons of departments, 12 leaders of academic and non-academic staff unions each, 12 leaders of students associations in the three public universities and 3 heads of boarding and accommodation sections. Four types of research instruments were used in data collection: questionnaires for deans of schools, chairpersons of departments and leaders of academic and non-academic staff unions, interview guides for VCs, DVCs and heads of boarding and accommodation sections, observation schedule, and document analysis. The data were analysed both quantitatively and qualitatively. Quantitative data were analysed using descriptive statistics aided by statistical package for social sciences (SPSS). Quantitative data were presented in frequencies, percentages and tables while qualitative data were organized into thematic categories according to the objectives of the study. The study established that public universities that took part in the study did not have enough teaching and learning resources, especially lecture halls, computers, textbooks and library space. The study found out that insufficient fund was the biggest management challenge as it affected all the other areas of research, teaching and learning. It was also revealed that the curriculum was not adequately implemented due to inadequate teaching and learning resources and teaching staff. All these management challenges were found to have an implication on the quality of education offered in the universities. The study recommends that, the universities and the government should establish appropriate, reliable, diversified and sustainable mechanisms for financing university operations; the Commission for University Education (CUE) should institute strict quality monitoring mechanisms to universities and revises its accreditation requirements; graduates tracer studies be conducted among the workforce periodically, universities to put in place clear curriculum regulatory processes and recruit more lecturers and improve lecturers‟ incentive system.