Health sector professional bodies have won the first round in their battle with the Commission for University Education for licensing of programmes after the High Court issued orders barring the higher education regulator from exclusively accrediting courses.

Judge John Mativo yesterday suspended amendments to the Universities Act which locked out all professional regulatory bodies from accrediting courses and solely bestowed the powers to sanction degree courses upon CUE, pending resolution of the dispute.

The six health sector agencies which moved to court include the Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board, Kenya Medical Laboratory Technicians and Technologists Board, Pharmacy and Poisons Board, Nursing Council of Kenya, Kenya Nutrition and Dietetics Institute, and Public Health Officers and Technicians Council.

Hybrid system

“Pending the hearing and or final determination of this application or until further or other orders of this court, the implementation of section 5 of the Universities (Amendment) Act 2016 be and is hereby stayed,” ordered Mr Justice Mativo.

President Uhuru Kenyatta assented to the amendments on December 23, 2016.

“A person who, without the authority of the commission under this Act, purports to license, accredit, recognise, audit, inspect, index students or collect a fee or a charge from a university or a student commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding Sh2 million or imprisonment for term not exceeding two years or both,” reads the section that has now been suspended.

This effectively ended Kenya’s hybrid accreditation system where both CUE and professional bodies had powers to regulate the teaching of programmes at tertiary level.