The governance of Kenyan public universities
This study investigated issues in public university governance that contributed to the rapid expansion of university education and its impact on the quality of education as well as the effect of government involvement in the management of universities. The study established that although the socio-economic and political pressures coupled with external policy formulations led to the rapid expansion of all levels of the education system following Kenya's independence in 1963, university education expanded phenomenally from the 1980s in response to the insatiable demand for such education. The political system exploited this demand as a means of squaring issues relating to historical and regional inequality and the devaluation of the assumed elitist ethos of the formal education system. Among the important politically motivated factors that has influenced large numbers of student admission in public universities is the relatively high frequency of student boycotts of lectures which in most cases are accompanied by government closures of institutions. The politicisation of decision-making has further reduced the effectiveness of the Commission for Higher Education which had been set up with full statutory powers to plan, develop and maintain the quality of university education. The overall consequences of politicised university governance has been unplanned growth of university education without commensurate rise in the level of funding, leading to a sharp decline in quality of education, and diminished democratisation of decision-making within the university management. All these factors point to the need for constitutional liberalisation which will release universities from arbitrary intervention by the executive powers and the need for universities to diversify their sources of funding.