Development theories have time and again provided an explanation to the predicament of the BOP (Bottom of Pyramid) nations on poor economic growth, inability to provide basic amenities to her population and unemployment (Malik, 2014). In mitigation of these predicaments most of these nations have had to go through a transformation process. The four major theorie of development include modernization, dependency, world systems and globalization. These are the principal theoretical explanations to interpret development efforts carried out especially in the developing countries. These theoretical perspectives allow us not only to clarify concepts, to set them in economic and social perspectives, but also to identify recommendations in terms of social policies.
Development can be defined as a social condition within a nation, in which the authentic needs of its population are satisfied by the rational and sustainable use of natural resources and systems. This utilization of natural resources is based on a technology, which respects the cultural features of the population of a given country. This indicates that for the population of a country, there are employment opportunities, satisfaction -at least- of basic needs, and the achievement of a positive rate of distribution and redistribution of national wealth (Pietak, 2014).
Modernization is the process that a nation goes through in transition from a traditional society to a modern one (Kumar, 2016). In this process social variables contribute to progress and development leading to a social revolution. Societies develop as they adopt more modern practices and become wealthier, more powerful and their citizens become freer to enjoy a higher standard of living. Modernization, being a process of social-cultural transformation, is a change process involving values, norms, institutions and structures (Kumar, 2016). According to the modernization theory, modern societies are more productive, children are better educated, and the needy receive more welfare. Modernization is a progressive process which in the long run is not only inevitable but desirable
It is education that has catalyzed the process of development into modernization. Sociologists contend that education does not arise in response to the individual needs of an individual, but from the needs of the society of which the individual is a member (Grant, 2017). The process of rationalization is linked to urbanization and industrialization, where the individual becomes increasingly important as the basic unit of society. Since societies are increasingly dynamic, education therefore, not only serves to transmit the cultural heritage from one generation to the other but it also assists in preparing the young members of society for adjustment to any changes in culture that may have occurred or are likely to occur (Grant, 2017).
The impact of modernization can be seen in the education systems, not only in the methods and structures but also in the content (Panahi, 2015). Education programs that conform to the demands of a modern society have been developed and are being developed. Entrepreneurship has been highlighted and propagated over and over again, despite her multitude of meanings and interpretations, as the solution to improved economies and eradicate endemic poverty from their midst (Szkudlarek, 2013).
The entrepreneurial process is a major contributor to economic development and the entrepreneur is important to the economic growth of a nation (Schumpeter, 2013). The process of marshaling resources and turning them into outputs gives a vital end to entrepreneurship in economic development. History indicates that the growth and development of the first world countries is pegged on the skill, innovation and diligence of entrepreneurs whose interests in value addition, increased incomes and community welfare have seen these countries get established (Heydari, Madani & Rostami, 2013).
Throughout history progress has been triggered by discoveries, inventions, revolutions and social movements. The 21st century presents challenges of globalization, the rapid pace of innovation, fast spread of technology and high speed of adoption of technology in everyday life. This is not only changing the way in which businesses and the economy is functioning but also the job market. The knowledge and skills required to be relevant in the present and future employment market are changing dramatically and, as a result, the education system is rapidly changing in response to the new challenges (Ilie & Bondera, 2016).
Because of the complexity of the global world the skills needed to effectively function in it may be changing. The knowledge and skills needed by graduates to perform in their professional life can no longer be provided by traditionally operating education institutions. The information age is experiencing dynamic needs in industries causing dislocations and disruptions in the labor market. Because of these turbulence there will be continued fundamental shifts in the types of jobs that will be available and skills demanded by employers. Future jobs will require graduates with entrepreneurial, scientific, creative and emotional skills (Dolphin, 2015).
Many studies have highlighted the connection between entrepreneurship and economic development. This link is easily observable by economic observation and simple intuition since entrepreneurship is based on activities that convert ideas into economic opportunities. According to Sanyang & Wen-Chi (2010) entrepreneurship, being a source of change and innovation boosts economic competitiveness and increases productivity. Organizations are challenged to increase competitiveness, productivity, flexibility and knowledge because of an increasingly globalized world economy.
The development of entrepreneurship and the entrepreneurial mind-set is causing a shift in the structure of industry. The assumption that supporting entrepreneurship is closely related with fostering a country’s competitiveness appears today more valid than ever, given the technological change and the intensified global competition brought about by globalization and economic liberalization. Entrepreneurship is therefore a dynamic process rather than a static phenomenon and is usually associated with issues related to decision making and represents more than just a mechanical economic factor (Grechu & Denes, 2017)
Entrepreneurial firms are part of the process that re-defines the market economies. These small and medium sized enterprises play a crucial role in the innovations that lead to the growth of productivity and the changes in technology that redefined the market structure and therefore the competition. The market economies are always in the process of “becoming” as they are dynamic organic entities, being oriented towards the future, not focusing on the inheritance of the past (Kuratko & Hodgetts, 2004).
As the world becomes more and more competitive and growth-oriented, entrepreneurship has grown into an efficient strategy with which economic development and sustainable competitiveness is gained by countries (Omoruyi, Olamide, Gomolemo, & Donath, 2017). Entrepreneurship is the result of self-confidence, skills, desire to become rich, creativity, imagination and innovation. Rahman and Day (2015) define entrepreneurship education as learning activities that focus on developing industrial or enterprising individuals and enhancing their knowledge and grasp of entrepreneurship and enterprise. Investment in entrepreneurship education and programs is still on the upsurge as public policy makers acknowledge the importance of entrepreneurship as a promoter of economic development (Hejazinia, 2015).
According to Omoruyi et al (2017) when most African countries were coming out of colonization, they adopted a state-led centrally planned economic structure, whereas most developed countries adopted a different model for their economic growth. Despite continued foreign aid, Africa still experiences an upward trend in poverty. Majority of Africa’s population comprises of the youth and so engaging them in productive activities can have both social and economic consequences. It is vital to create employment for the youth centering on the entrepreneurial sector. Omoruyi et al (2017) cites Audretsch, Keilbach and Lehmann (2006) saying that “the significant contribution of entrepreneurship to economic growth lies in its serving as a medium for the spillover of knowledge that might otherwise have stayed un-commercialized.”
The recent decades have witnessed noteworthy growth in entrepreneurship education in not only most industrialized countries but also developing nations. For this major reason, mechanisms to increase entrepreneurial activity have been employed as there is the widespread belief in a positive impact of entrepreneurship education (Hejazinia, 2015). The highly competitive job environment clearly shows that permanent employment in organizations is no longer guaranteed. In the same vein, the belief that university graduates can acquire a job easily no longer reflects the realities of employment market (Saeed, Muffatto & Yousafzai, 2014). Entrepreneurship in itself poses an attractive alternative to the ominous global challenge of unemployment as well as give young graduates an opportunity to inscribe a unique and creative brand in the market (Sahut, Ilouga & Mouloungui, 2014).
The notion of developing entrepreneurs was principally incomprehensible in the 1970s, which made the concept of entrepreneurship education largely unknown. However, the inclusion of some entrepreneurial component or content in business curricula by universities in the 1980’s provided the foundation for the development and eventual growth of entrepreneurship education. Actually, this trend of including entrepreneurship components in business curricula originated in the United States and has continued ever since to the 21st Century (Kuckertz, 2013).
Entrepreneurship education started in the United States in 1947 when it was first taught at Harvard Business School. This was followed by the provision of entrepreneurship education by other universities such as New York University and the University of Illinois in 1953, Stanford University in 1954, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1958 (Abduh, Maritz & Rushworth, 2012). Despite the existence of few programs earlier, entrepreneurship education experienced significant growth in early 1970’s when the University of Southern California provided an entrepreneurship concentration in their MBA program and at the undergraduate level a year later (Winkel, Vanevenhoven, Drago&Clements, 2013).
The Anglo-Saxon regions saw the entrance of entrepreneurship education in Europe in early 1970’s following the example of United States as the pace setting country. In Western Europe, entrepreneurship education in universities has made considerable progress in the past two decades, particularly in Scandinavian and German-speaking countries in this region. European countries like Germany has followed the same growth curve to the United States though relatively behind are universities in Asia, Latin America, and Eastern Europe (Haase, 2011).
In Africa, entrepreneurship has been downplayed in the last 30 years and therefore entrepreneurship education is seemingly new unlike in the United States and Europe. It started in apprenticeship form in Nigeria where early entrepreneurs in the traditional sector undertook informal and non-systematized apprenticeship training before they started their own businesses (Onwuegbuzie, 2017). Since its introduction in Africa, entrepreneurship education has developed to an extent it is offered in vocational and technical institutions as well as universities and colleges. Many educational institutions in Africa, particularly South Africa, offer this field of study in the form of enterprise development programs (Edoho, 2015).
Entrepreneurship education was first introduced in Kenya in 1990 (Ongwae, 2013). Unlike in other parts of Africa like Nigeria, entrepreneurship education is relatively fully established in many universities in Kenya where it is offered in undergraduate and postgraduate education programs. The evolution of entrepreneurship education has majorly been influenced by globalization largely brought about by information and communication technology (ICT) (Alarape, 2008). Globalization has prompted growth through generating an intense competitive business environment, forcing firms to constantly innovate to ensure their survival and productivity (Abereijo, 2015).
The Vision 2030 was introduced by countries to serve as a roadmap for their development agenda between years 2008 to 2030. Kenya adopted this blue print with the aim of transforming itself into a newly industrializing middle-income country (Vision, 2030). The Vision is based on three “pillars”: the economic, the social and the political. The outline of the Vision 2030 is seen to bring hope to entrepreneurship education in Kenya. According to Bwisa (2011), Kenya is among the first African countries to introduce entrepreneurship education in its training system.
Tertiary institutions are post secondary (Third stage or third level) school institutions which include universities, colleges and vocational schools (World Bank, 2017). They culminate in the offering of degree, diploma and certificates for a variety of courses. They provide adequate and appropriate skilled Artisans, Craftsmen, Technicians and Technologists at all levels of the economy through practical training and work experience. Vocational education is education only in the type of trade a person wants to pursue, forgoing traditional academics. However higher education is an optional, final stage of learning that occurs after completion of secondary education (World Bank, 2017). It is necessary for the discovery, proper dissemination and application of knowledge.
There are two types of tertiary institutions. One group offers vocational training while the other group offers higher education. Vocational training offer certificates, diplomas and higher diplomas while higher education offer degrees and a range of postgraduates awards (Wango, 2011). Higher education usually refers to education leading to a degree, master or PHD. The role that these institutions play in supporting knowledge-driven economic growth strategies and the construction of democratic, socially cohesive societies is critical. By training competent and responsible professionals they assist in the improvement of the institutional regime and contribute to sound macroeconomic and public sector management (Wango, 2011).
According to Day and Newburger (2017) it is estimated that individuals in the United States with a bachelors degree earn almost twice more than those with a high school certificate only. This shows that getting a higher education is more financially beneficial than quitting school after graduating from high school. Also, according to Matarazzo (1972), a higher education graduate is more intelligent than a high school graduate by 10 IQ points. A more intelligent person is likely to have a better quality life than a less intelligent one. This is because people with higher IQs have higher problem solving abilities than others.
Bloom, Canning, Chan and Luca (2014) argue that higher education has both public and private benefits. Private benefits include better employment prospects and higher salaries which may result in better health and improved quality of life. Public benefits of higher education include improved economic output and technological development. Countries that have a better educated population are more prepared to deal with the challenges of technological advancement. Economic growth is largely dependent on tertiary education. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) the lack of qualified human capital hinders growth and undermines the foundation for sustainable development (Meek, Teichler and Kearney, 2009).
In the 20th century economy a high school degree was sufficient to land on entry level job in conventional industries, which would lead to a lifetime career for most people, often in the same company (Mulinge, 2017). Today, most industries, governments and educators agree that a third-level certification is required for one to be able to thrive in the post-industrial economy. This has resulted in a situation where individuals who are best able to leverage their knowledge advantage increasingly accounting for a greater portion of the total output. They become the recipients of a consistently and greater portion of earnings (Mulinge, 2017).
The role that research plays in identifying problems which afflict society cannot be overemphasized. It is through diligent research and publication of it that breakthroughs in science, technology, agriculture and medicine have been made. Today the world is sitting on the pedestal of Information Technology which is driving all aspects of human endeavour. Learning in schools, Agriculture, Economics and Culture are all interfacing in a seamless manner that has transformed lives. According to Mukhwana et al (2016) “University education is a critical component of human resource development”. Education is vital because of the impacts of globalization combined with “increasing importance of knowledge as the main driver of growth” and “the information and communication revolution”. Tertiary institutions provide higher education which is essential in producing highly qualified personnel in diverse specialized skills and who have the capacity to promote higher production of human and economic capital (Gathitu, 2010).
The role of tertiary institutions is also to present mature and reliable graduates with the desire to contribute to the development of the country by offering services that preserve national and cultural heritages. Higher education also contributes greatly to developing and transmitting knowledge stimulating the intellectual life and cultural development of a country. They produce high level labour that is able to meet the social, cultural and economic needs of the nation. The social, economic and political development as well as the preservation of a nation’s unique culture and identity depends on sustainable development of higher education (Gathitu, 2010).
Previously held conceptions were that tertiary institutions had little role in economic development. According to Power, Millington and Bengtsson (2015) the contribution of education to economic development was analyzed in terms of the relationship between education and personal income. Primary education had the highest social and private rates of return while returns for higher education were the least. It was thus thought that primary and secondary education had higher returns on investment.
Bloom et al (2014) contend that the international community has been in the forefront in encouraging African governments to neglect higher education. Development partners invested more to lower level education institutions at the expense of universities and colleges which thus experienced problems of underfunding, increased expenditure and increased enrolment. As an example, the Dakar summit on “Education for All” in 2000, advocated only for primary education as a driver of broad social welfare. Tertiary Education was left in the background. However, in recent years, International organizations like the World Bank and donor countries have began to reconsider their exclusive focus on primary education and are giving higher levels of education more attention. This perception has changed of lately with the realization that university education contributes considerably to social and economic development (Power et al, 2015). The importance of tertiary education cannot be over-emphasized. It is the backbone of society and a major driver behind economic growth and personal financial freedom (Worldbank, 2002).
During the immediate post-independence period, tertiary education received a substantial amount of domestic and foreign investment in low-and-middle-income countries. However in the 1980s and 1990s there was crisis of quality in education systems across the low-and-middle-income countries caused by a reduced interest in tertiary education. Currently, the emergence of the ‘knowledge economy’ is causing global changes and inspiring a improved interest in tertiary education in low-and-middle-income countries. The result has been emergence of a wave of reform and revitalization efforts and a growing interest in the possibility of capturing the impact of tertiary education on economic growth and development (Oketch, McCowan & Schendel, 2014).
This interest has led to several studies seeking to find out the impact of tertiary education on comprehensive development outcomes in low-and-middle-income countries (Pillay, 2011; Hawkes & Ugur, 2012; Cloete et al, 2011; Kimenyi, 2011). Although each of these studies offer important information on the literature that is available on the topic, they are only focused solely on the economic development outcomes. There is therefore need to consider the empirical and theoretical link between tertiary education and non-economic development outcomes. Furthermore, most of the reviews available consider the full range of international evidence linking TE and development, including studies from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), rather than focusing solely on low-and-middle-income-countries.
As part of a broader nation-building initiative, national universities were established in many low-and-middle-income countries in the post-independence era. Universities were seen to promote the presence of newly independent nations on the international scene and were therefore supported domestically. However external aid for tertiary education was mainly based on the principles of Human Capital Theory (Oketch, McCowan & Schendel, 2014).
Basically, Human Capital Theory suggests that education increases worker productivity and that those with more education should earn higher wages in exchange for this higher productivity (Becker 1993, Schultz 1961). According to the authors, time and money spent on education builds human capital therefore it is possible for someone to estimate the rate of return (RoR) on investment in education, just like the way one does in investment in physical capital. In other words human capital theory states that a person’s education is an investment because it involves costs, in terms of direct spending on education and the opportunity costs of student time. This is similar to a firm investing in physical capital and it makes the individual more productive and is beneficial in terms of superior productivity, higher wages and other non-monetary benefits to the individual and the society. Human capital theory, therefore, assumes that investment in tertiary education yields a private return, as it benefits individuals through increased earnings, and a social return, as it benefits the national economy through economic growth, resulting from higher worker productivity (Mulongo, 2012).
During the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, education economists World Bank conducted a series of analyses on rate-of-returns which cast doubt on the applicability of the human capital theory to developing countries (Psacharopoulos, 1987: Psacharopoulos, 1995). The findings of the analysis revealed that private returns on investment in tertiary education were significantly higher than social returns. The findings also revealed that the social return on investment in primary education was twice as that on investment in tertiary education in low-income countries. These results led to reduced public funding of tertiary education institutions and increased funding of primary education a process that was strengthened as a policy when the international community adopted universal primary education as the central educational objective (Haddad, 1990).
The results have, in recent years, received a great amount of criticism based on the data used and the assumptions made on cost of tertiary education and the methods used to calculate the return-on-investment have been questioned by contemporary researchers. The calculations were based on earnings rather than external factors like increased tax revenues, increased savings and income and investment, decreased reliance on public benefits and increased consumption levels ( Bloom et al, 2014). Furthermore the studies did not consider non-market private and social returns from tertiary education. However recent studies that have included these factors have found substantial evidence of higher returns-on-investment to tertiary education (McMahon & Oketch, 2013).
Reduction in investment in tertiary education in the 80s and 90s can be also be attributed to its impact on increase in socio-economic inequality. Tertiary education is a scarce privilege in most low-income countries and those advantaged to attain this level of education are endowed with higher positional advantage over others in the society. Admission to tertiary education institutions is merit-based, tending to disadvantage certain groups and therefore contributing to a cycle of intergenerational reproduction of inequalities in the society (Brennan and Naidoo, 2008). In this case, financing of tertiary education significantly contributes to its impacts on inequality. Although it reduces the public subsidy element, charging for tertiary education ensure it accessibility to the elite only and therefore contributes to increasing inequality as it can lead to a situation in which only wealthy students are able to afford tertiary education (McMahon & Oketch 2013). The provision of need-based scholarships, in contrast, can positively influence income inequality, as a wider proportion of the population is given the opportunity to access TE and, consequently, earn higher wages. TE has, in fact, been found to contribute to reduced inequality in contexts with a high proportion of tertiary enrolment and where state-financed support of higher education is not based on highly regressive taxes (McMahon & Oketch, 2013).
In the last two decades, changes in the nature of production brought about by globalization and emergence of the ‘knowledge economy’ have brought back arguments for investment in tertiary education. How tertiary education contributes to development is now explained by the endogenous growth theory which expands beyond the traditional relationship between productivity and income. According to the theory economic growth is primarily a result of internal rather than external factors and that investment in human capital, innovation and knowledge contributes significantly to economic growth (Romer, 1994). Endogenous growth assumes that highly skilled personnel are a prerequisite for growth in the context of the knowledge economy, not just because they earn higher wages, but because such personnel are required in order for adaptation and transfer of technology to occur (Romer, 1994). Technological transfer, meanwhile, is assumed to increase the productivity and efficiency of the economy, leading to sustained economic growth. One aspect of endogenous growth is innovation and the development of new technology. New technologies cannot be adapted to local conditions unless there are educated members of the workforce familiar with current research and innovation.
According to McMahon & Oketch (2013) in addition to market benefits through earnings, TE contributes to improvements in the quality of life and life chances for the individual through non-market benefits (that is, the benefits of TE that can be observed during non-labour-market hours). Data indicate that higher levels of education yield a number of non-market private benefits, including improved health (for both individuals and their family members), greater longevity, improved cognitive development in children, and reduced family size (McMahon and Oketch 2013). These outcomes are likely to contribute to the productivity of individuals in the workforce, and, consequently, to economic growth.
Another way in which tertiary education impacts economic growth is by increasing the capabilities within a population. This argument is largely based on the capabilities approach by Amartya Sen (1985) which focuses on the moral importance of the capability of an individual to achieve the kind of life they value. It argues that gauging individual well-being and national prosperity on income is inadequate and that prosperity should be determined by peoples freedom to do what they have reason to value. Though income is instrumental to expanding freedom, it is not sufficient by itself. This approach presents a different consideration of the impact of tertiary education suggesting that it provides a broad learning experience for students and equips them to pursue various goals, including, but not restricted to, employment, and strengthens citizenship and ethical commitments to others in society (Walker 2006). The notion of capabilities is closely associated with the ‘human development’ paradigm, which directs attention to a broad range of development outcomes, such as health, longevity, literacy and respect for human rights, and, importantly, places participation at the heart of the process. These outcomes have a positive economic impact, but can also be viewed as development indicators in their own right.
Apart from its impact on individual capabilities, tertiary education impacts institutions. These are both formal organizations as well as social norms governing human behaviour. The endogenous development theory posits that tertiary education not only has private non-market benefits but also results in a number of non-market social benefits which includes increasingly democratic institutions, reduction in environmental degradation, reduction in crime and political stability (McMahon & Oketch, 2013).
The capability approach also assumes that the expansion of freedoms leads to wider social impacts, such as the strengthening of democracy, social cohesion and good governance. This argument is supported by the institutional growth theory which posits that economic growth differences between countries are mostly a result of institutional differences. Proponents of the institutional growth theory (Aron, 2000) argue that institutions directly influence incentives—which, in turn, determine investment in physical and human capital—by ensuring the enforcement of broad-based property rights and diminishing rents for power-holders. Institutional growth theory argues that rules are necessary in order for economic growth and development to happen. Weak political and economic institutions hamper growth, while strong institutions, particularly political, judicial and trade institutions, tend to have a positive impact (McMahon & Oketch, 2013). Improved institutions are also likely to contribute to development outcomes beyond economic growth. For example, tertiary education contributes to improvements in healthcare systems, by educating highly skilled doctors and nurses, and in lower levels of education, through teacher training. High-capacity graduates are also necessary for good governance which can then lead to improvements in a wide range of developmental policies.
According to Romer (1990) endogenous growth theory assumes the existence of ‘positive externalities’ associated with new knowledge. The production of new technologies leads to a replication effect which includes a reduction in the cost of producing such technologies over time. New knowledge also leads to efficiency through process innovation and consequently leading to profitability, as new knowledge is translated into processes and products into practical value. Furthermore tertiary education also contributes to development through the cultivation of new knowledge both directly, through investment in research, and indirectly, through training of qualified researchers.
In explaining the growth seen in higher-income countries Romer (1990) relates it to the advancement of the newest and most complicated technologies. It is therefore not very clear whether the impact of tertiary education on technological development is fully applicable to low-income countries. Research is very expensive, as it requires investment in studies that may, ultimately, not produce results. Lower-income countries often do not have the necessary financial resources to fund adequate research programs or the institutional capacity to reach the research frontier in complex fields.
Tertiary education is not only limited to teaching and research but involved a great deal of ‘public service’, ‘community engagement’, ‘extension’ and ‘third-stream activities. They work with local communities to improve capacity it sectors such as agriculture, engineering and business. Services provided by tertiary education institutions include the dissemination of knowledge to government and industry, and is increasingly associated with income-generation activities, such as the hiring of faculty members as consultants on government initiatives. It is assumed that the dissemination of knowledge improves technological transfer in all sectors, thereby improving productivity and efficiency. Some institutions also provide other direct benefits to local communities, such as offering short courses, providing services such as hospitals and ‘lab schools’, and making available the use of facilities and buildings.
African universities have been accused of training personnel that are not prepared to meet global economic challenges. They have been accused of producing half-baked graduates by being unable to conduct authentic research thus depriving the knowledge-based economy of the important asset. Education and training programs must thus be reevaluated for relevance and effectiveness (Otieno, 2013). Universities are expected to conduct research and train highly qualified personnel to meet the needs of the labor market and the society in general. To remain relevant Universities in Africa have had to go through structural transformation in order to create harmony with the socio-economic demands of the society (Otieno, 2013).
Worldwide the number of students has increased by more than five times in the last four decades (Banya, 2014) as witnessed in both public and private universities. While growth has been unregulated, there has been no attempt to meet the demand. According to Mohamedbhai (2014), most institutions in Africa have enrolled more than their capacity which has resulted in negative consequences. The result has been decreased quality of education, graduate unemployment, student mobility and crumbling physical infrastructure. For this reason, institutions of higher learning have attempted to adopt responding strategies. Some of these strategies include decentralization, long distance learning, and e-learning solutions.
Within a short span of time education has moved from elite to mass education in many developing countries (Calderon, 2012) Africa has also witnessed an increase in higher education enrolment. However institutions of higher learning in Africa have been faced with ineffectiveness and inefficiency in most parts of the continent (Atiogbe and Ofori, 2012). This is due to rising student numbers without a consummate increase in the infrastructure and reduced government funding. Universities are faced with the challenges of globalization and population growth, resulting in modification of traditional modes of teaching to avert these challenges.
This phenomenon has been experienced in Kenya as in the rest of the world. Increase in enrolment both in primary and secondary school has put pressure on the tertiary sector creating a compelling need to increase higher education enrollment which is a challenge to both the institutions and the nation. The Kenyan education system has thus been facing a crisis called “massification” (Ondicho, 2015). Massification can thus be defined as demand for university education in access of capacity for universities to provide for it (Jowi, 2003). It involves both an increase in the number of institutions as well as the enrolment rates. Some of the factors that have contributed to the growth of learning institutions in Kenya include free primary and secondary education, gender equality campaigns and emergence of scholarship-giving organizations (Gudo, ole and Olanda, 2011).
The education industry is thus facing a lot of turbulence due to increased enrollment, changes in employers demands and technological changes. According to literature (Mathook and Ogutu, 2014) there is an accelerated demand for higher education that exceeds supply. The expansion of higher education has posed both opportunities and challenges which have affected how institutions operate and compete for resources.
To deal with massification public universities have devised several coping strategies including decentralization, changes in student residential facilities, Licence-Maitrise-Doctorat (LMD) distance learning and e-learning solutions. Other factors that have contributed to “massification” include the perception that university education is a guarantee for a lifelong secure career, desire to advance in employment and lowering of admission grades by universities. The main cause for massification in Kenyan universities has thus been the increasing complexity of modern societies and economies which demand for more highly trained workforce (Mulinge, 2017). As a result of rapid expansion and growth of higher education the Kenyan government established the Commission for university education through an act of parliament (Universities Act No. 42 of 2012) to regulate, coordinate and assure quality in university education (Mukhwana et al, 2016). The purpose of the commission was to initiate standards and policies that would strengthen the gains realized and provide remedies to areas of weakness in the sector.
Public education in Kenya has been based on the 8-4-4 system since 1985. The system includes eight years of primary education followed by four years of secondary education and then four years of university or college. The aim of university education in Kenya is to stimulate and promote cultural and intellectual growth, produce local highly educated manpower, carry out research and disseminate knowledge (Mulinge, 2017).
The first Kenyan higher education institution (Ngome, 2003) can be traced back to 1947 when the colonial government devised a plan to establish a technical and commercial institute in Nairobi. The plan latter grew to encompass the East African region and in 1951 the Royal Technical College of East Africa received a royal charter to provide instruction in courses leading to the higher national certificate to prepare students for university degrees in engineering and commercial courses. It became Kenya’s first higher education institution. Later a further process of reconstruction saw this college change to the Royal College of Nairobi (Mulinge, 2017).
After independence the college was elevated to the University college of Nairobi. This was the first step towards introduction and development of university education in Kenya. In 1970, the University college of Nairobi was transformed into the University of Nairobi by an act of parliament. The university has since grown to become a leading University in the region with the highest number of students and academic programs in the country (Mulinge, 2017).
In a document titled “African Socialism and its Application to Planning in Kenya” (GoK, 1965), the government recognized education and training of skilled manpower as one of the pillars of the development process. It reiterated that economic growth required abundant supplies of skilled, trained and experienced manpower. It therefore concluded that education and training for all Kenyans was critical to the success of the government’s overall development strategy. Quality human resources were deemed essential to the attainment of national development goals and for industrial development (Mulinge, 2017). The government therefore exerted efforts to come up with programs assisting Kenyans to access education in general and higher education in particular. The results have been a tremendous growth of education in Kenya at all levels.
In Kenya, at the time of independence, Tertiary education had the key role of developing personnel for the civil service. Based on the session paper No. 10 of 1965 (GoK, 1965) Tertiary education was developed and began expanding albeit driven by civil-service labour needs, rather than the idea that tertiary education might spur economic growth. At the time, University of Nairobi remained the dominant university from1970, until Moi University was established in 1984. In 1985, a year later, Kenyatta University ,which had been a constituent college of University of Nairobi, became a fully fledged university (Oketch, 2003).
During this time tertiary education was still very costly to individual students. It mainly served the human-capital needs of government, government parastatals and a few international corporations. Private sector employment was minimal and graduates preferred to look for employment in the civil service and government parastatals. Tertiary education was mainly a preserve of the elite and government paid expensively for boarding and accommodation for students. During this period there were high levels of illiteracy and low enrolment in primary education. Because majority of Kenyans from low-income backgrounds had limited access to tertiary education, the poor subsidized the higher education of the elite. This resulted in a very high private rate of return for the graduates with expanded access to tertiary education.
Growth of tertiary education in Kenya has been tremendous expanding from one university college in June 1970 to a total of 49 universities in 2017 (22 public universities, 14 chartered private universities and 13 universities with letter of interim authority) (Mulinge, 2017). The country’s University’ system has grown exponentially, both in terms of number of institutions and the number of students enrolled in those institutions. The most dramatic growth occurred after 1990 when more Kenyans demanded access to university education (Mulinge, 2017). According to Mukhwana et al (2016), of late “access to university education has expanded remarkably providing more choices and new modes of delivery”. The Privately-Sponsored Student’s Programme (PSSP) introduced in public universities has led to an upsurge of enrolment with adult students seeking to upgrade their qualifications so a to compete in the dynamic labor market.
In Kenya, like elsewhere in the world, growth of public sector universities has been complemented by growth in private universities (Mulinge, 2017). Private universities offer a viable option to the overwhelmed public sector for those seeking higher education. They offer market driven courses and provide a conducive environment for academic excellence (Mulinge, 2017).
The rapid rise of private universities and parallel programmes in public universities, where students pay for their tuition, has brought dramatic changes in tertiary education. Tertiary education has become more demand driven and linked to the needs of the labor market, rather than the previous supply driven system. There has also been a shift in the emphasis on the role of university graduates in Kenya’s development, because of less employment opportunities within the government. This has resulted in an expansion of enrolment in demand-led higher education and accelerated emergence of private providers. However, there has been little evidence of growth in the areas of technology and science. Social science has dominated the growth and expansion so far, with commerce-related disciplines, such as bachelor of commerce degrees, actuarial science, IT and business becoming very popular degree options.
In contrast to Sessional paper No. 10 of 1965, Vision 2030 advocated for the role of tertiary education in making Kenya a middle-income country by 2030. It emphasises the role of private-sector development rather than civil service employment and recognises the importance of both physical capital and human capital in Kenya’s transformation. As a result of the new focus on tertiary education, the sub-sector has expanded rapidly in the last few years. Compared to other countries in the region, Kenya has had a liberal approach towards the expansion of tertiary education, which has bolstered its human-capital capacity. However, like several other countries in Africa, there have been distortions in the way education has been utilised that have, in turn, impacted the potential for tertiary education to influence development in the country.
For a long time the Kenyan government did not give accreditation to private universities. However with increased demand for university education, the government began to encourage the establishment and accreditation of private universities (Mulinge, 2017). These universities took advantage of the slow pace of expansion of the public universities to venture into the university education market, thereby accelerating the growth of the private sector (Mulinge, 2017).