Academic Programmes in Universities in East Africa: A Catalyst to Development

Florah Katanu Karimi


The types of academic programmes offered by universities, both public and private, are considered to be critical to the realization of development agendas. This study was descriptive in nature and sought to establish whether universities in the East African region were offering academic programmes that were relevant to the realization of the global development agendas. The study further sought to establish whether there was any significant association between the academic programmes offered by public and private universities in the region. The sample was drawn from the websites of the national quality assurance agencies in the region and consisted of one hundred and thirty universities whose academic programmes had been accredited by the agencies. The study revealed that the Humanities and Commerce categories of academic programmes were over represented in the market in relation to the global development demands, and thus, their further development in universities needed to be restricted. On the other hand, the categories of Political and Legal related studies, Sociology, Psychology and Development related studies, Architecture and Engineering and Natural and Life Sciences, which were critical to the realization of the global development agendas, were not adequately being offered by the universities. In addition, significantly more public universities were found to be offering the Architecture and Engineering and Natural and Life Sciences categories of academic programmes. This was attributed to the greater government financial support given to public rather than private universities in the region. The support further translates to greater potential within the public universities to provide the necessary academic resources for the backing of the latter categories of academic programmes. In conclusion, the prioritization of the development and implementation of academic programmes that are relevant is a sure way of accelerating the realization of the development agendas in the region.

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International Journal of Higher Education
ISSN 1927-6044 (Print) ISSN 1927-6052 (Online) Email:

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