12 Quick Facts on Kenya’s Temporary Operating Licenses for Universities

September 27th, 2019


Here’s what you need to know about the proposal recommended by Kenya’s Ministry of Education eight-year limit for new universities to operate on a temporary license:

1. The proposed plan amends the University Act 2012, whereby the Ministry is suggesting that newly established universities will receive a letter of interim authority (temporary license) for four renewable (once) years.

2. The proposal was presented to the parliamentary Education Committee at the end of August 2019 that will allow universities to operate on temporary/interim licenses for only 8 years without the option for renewal.

3. Only institutions that meet the Ministry’s requirements will receive the temporary license.

4. The intention is to ensure that institutions meet standards and requirements within the established timelines.

5. The Commission of University Education (CUE), which is the regulator of higher education in Kenya, confirms that 14 universities operate on letter of interim authority.

6. In 2017, the CUE conducted a review of universities operating on a letter of interim authority which concluded in the denial of licenses that were issued to three of the universities previously assessed.

7. Currently, according to the CUE, there are 14 universities operating on temporary licenses

8. The following institutions had received temporary licenses more than eight years ago and could have their licenses revoked if the proposal is passed into law:

  • East Africa University
  • Gretsa University
  • Kiriri Women’s University
  • Management University of Africa
  • Pioneer International University
  • Presbyterian University
  • Riara University.
  • Aga Khan University (the oldest in the list as it received it temporary license in 2002)

9. The following institutions received their temporary licenses later than 2012 which will remain valid should the regulation be approved and enforced:

  • International Leadership University
  • Lukenya University
  • UMMA University
  • Zetech University
  • RAF University
  • Amref University.

10. The following institutions had their licenses revoked in 2017, after a review conducted by the CUE, but later were granted an extension to operate provisionally on the condition they confirm to the CUE standards:

  • East Africa University
  • Kiriri Women’s University
  • Gretsa University.

(Note: Despite a directive from the CUE to the above 3 institutions to not accept any new incoming students, it was overlooked.)

11. The following institutions have been allowed to continue teaching based on their temporary licenses:

  • Aga Khan University
  • Management University of Africa
  • Pioneer International University
  • Presbyterian University of East Africa
  • Riara University.

12. If the Ministry’s proposal is approved into law, it will reopen the debate as to whether universities that have been operating with temporary licenses for more than the proposed eight years will be allowed to continue as such or face closure.






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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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