Arusha. The East African Community (EAC) would not waver in pressing for improved quality of university education.
In the same vein, the regional organization says it would not stop the authorities in the partner states to close the higher education institutions which do not abide by the required rules and standards.
"We have no powers to close the universities but we are always concerned with the quality of education", asserted Prof. Mike Kuria, the deputy executive secretary of Inter-Unversity Council of East Africa (IUCEA), an institution of the Community.
He told reporters here on Monday, March 12 that the Council, which is responsible for promoting higher education systems and research in the region, was aware of the recent closure of the universities.
"We have no problem if a university is closed due to poor quality of its education", he said, noting that the concerned authorities should not be blamed for that.
He added that although IUCEA has no power to shut the training institutions whose standards of teaching had deteriorated, it will support measures undertaken in the partner states to that effect.
In recent months, there had been reports of closure of various universities across the region, mainly due to failure to abide by the set rules.
"We will support the national university commissions and councils undertaking this and we will work with them", he stated, noting that in Tanzania that responsibility rests with the Tanzania Commission for Universities (TCU).
He partly attributed the falling standards of academic performance to mushrooming of universities in the region due to the high demand for university education.
In Kenya alone, it is estimated that there were over 70 universities, about 60 in Uganda and close to 50 in Tanzania. Currently, Kenya has about 530,000 students in the universities.
At least 123 of them are members to IUCEA, a body established in the 1980s to foster collaboration between universities in the six nation bloc.
Prof Kuria was briefing the media on the forthcoming Academia-Public-Private Partnership Forum and Exhibitions to be held in Nairobi, Kenya next week.
The two-day forum will attract 100 universities and other higher education institutions and would focus on how the academic centres, research institutions and the private sector can partner to promote industrialization.