Higher education marketisation and its discontents: The case of quality in Kenya

This study addresses the implications of higher education marketisation for quality in Kenya. It focuses on full fee-paying programmes, the de facto market source of revenue for Kenya’s public universities. The study argues that Kenya’s public universities were precipitately subjected to diminished public capitation, and so was their plunging into marketisation. These institutions started enrolling full fee-paying students at a time when they were strained in terms of institutional capacity. There were not enough physical facilities, and most of those available were suffering decay following many years of neglect. They did not have enough teaching staff, a problem, which the marketisation agenda has made worse. The desire to claim a bigger share in the student market has seen the introduction of many new courses in advance of capacity to offer them. The study concludes that by seeking economic self-determination through full fee-paying programmes, in advance of a well-developed institutional capacity, the subsequent pressure seems to have made the quality situation worse.

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