Why MKU is varsity of choice for many
Dr. Bibianne Waiganjo-Aidi,DVC Academic and Research AffairsQ. MKU has in recent times invested in various infrastructural developments. Which of these directly support its academic mission?
A: The recently commissioned Ksh1 billion Alumni Plaza, located in the main campus, houses all academic administration offices, hence creating more room for lecture halls and laboratories, which are currently being renovated and stocked.
The Chancellor’s Tower houses the majority of our lecture halls, and we have developed similar structures in our other campuses.
Last November, the Board of Directors launched the new ultra-modern senate boardroom, which is complete with state-of-the-art communication and presentation equipment.
The university has commenced the construction of a new ultra-modern 18,000-seater auditorium to create more space for students forums, conferences, public lectures, among many other academic seminars and workshops.
Our laboratories have been stocked with up-to-date equipment, and then we have a commitment with partnering institutions and stakeholders to add more equipment due to the increasing number of students.
Currently, we are establishing more labs, which upon completion, will make the total number of labs to 42, serving different programmes.
Q.What quality assurance mechanisms does the university have in place? How effective are these in delivering the desired results?
A: Our directorate of quality assurance carries out a minimum of two internal and one external quality audit each academic year so as to promote continuous improvement of quality service provision to staff, students and other stakeholders.
Feedback from customers is also a key component of MKU quality service provision. In promoting feedback, the university, through the directorate of quality assurance, conducts spontaneous surveys among students during the semester/trimester to obtain recommendations for action on areas where the students will have identified as requiring attention.
These actions have become a component in MKU strategic strides in providing unmatched academic services to its students and the community at large.
Q. What measures are in place to curb exam cheating and to secure credible evaluation, and therefore maintain the integrity of examinations at MKU?
A: MKU examination processes are anchored in its statutes and examination policy guidelines. These provide for the appointment of internal and external invigilators.
Among the requirements is that they provide integrity letters from the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (EACC).
During the September-December 2017 semester/trimester, the university rolled out a new range of examination booklets that are barcoded and can be traced from the point of issuance to the point of archiving. This has been achieved through the use of barcode reading machines, which are capable of transmitting recorded data to examination directorate in the main campus for tracking.
This has ensured that only genuine booklets from the university are used during examination sessions. Any remainder can be accounted for, and only the examination officers can demand for any unaccounted booklet at any time.
The coding and archiving of student’s booklets once the university senate has approved examination results further ensures that no students’ marks are lost. This resolves the challenge of ‘missing marks’.
These efforts, in addition to clear examination disciplinary processes and stiff penalties, have reduced by a significant margin, cases of examination cheating amongst our learners. In its long-term plans, the institution is endeavouring to introduce CCTV cameras in examination halls to boost the efforts of invigilators.
Q. How have Kenya’s Commission for University Education (CUE) and Rwanda’s Higher Education Council audits assisted the university to remain on track in the delivery of quality education?
A: CUE audits have assisted the university and its campuses to enhance adherence to academic bodies and regulatory guidelines concerning accreditation and reviews of programmes, and more so to ensure that the university offers market driven quality programmes. These have also assisted the university in establishing adequate modern facilities, among them laboratories and lecture halls, while expanding the existing ones to meet student and staff needs.
The university had numerous CUE audits in 2016. The latest audit was carried out in January 2017. During these audits, the university has always emerged compliant to CUE requirements.
The transparency with which the audits are conducted has given an impetus to the institution, since all the recommendations made from such audits have been embedded in our decision-making mechanisms to further provided quality education.
The Rwandan Higher Education Council (HEC) audits have also returned a compliance verdict for MKU-Kigali Campus, which has strived to meet all the set guidelines as envisaged by the HEC. The Kigali Campus has continued to meet the academic needs of students in Rwanda.
Q. In terms of programmes, how does MKU compare with other private universities?
A: The university prides itself in offering market driven courses, which are heavily developed through stakeholder involvement. MKU has crafted a niche in technology, business, IT, social sciences and the health sciences programmes. In addition, we pride ourselves as offering cutting-edge programmes and training.
This has enabled the institution to attract comparatively some of the highest numbers of student applicants and transfers. We are additionally reputed for efficient service delivery. We are in the process of implementing a revised advisory student services so as to boost our competitive edge among other service providers.
Q. MKU has spontaneously attracted the highest number of government-sponsored students. How much a mark of confidence in the university’s quality education is this?
A: The confidence expressed in this institution by the high number of government-sponsored applicants underscores the demand for our market driven programmes.
The experiences of our students reflect what true campus life should be like. Our students are exposed to adequate and well equipped lecture halls, labs, halls of residence and other co-curricular activities that make studying in MKU attractive.
We pride ourselves in maintaining an open-door policy where students can access all university officers at any given time of their study.