By The Weekly Vision
Engineering students at the Technical University of Kenya are worried about the validity of their course with claims that the engineering programme has not been accredited by the Engineers Board of Kenya. In a landmark ruling that could make or break the careers of hundreds of students taking the course at TUK, the High Court in Nairobi ordered the Engineers Board of Kenya to conclude the review of the programme offered by TUK expeditiously and in any event not later than 31st July 2023.
The ruling by Judge M.Thande dated 28th April 2023 was a result of a case filed by George Wachira Kibuthu on 17th March 2022. Kibuthu reported that he was awarded a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering on 23rd December 2020 by the Technical University of Kenya (TUK), having satisfied all the requirements On 21st June 2021, he lodged an application for registration as a graduate engineer with the Engineers Board of Kenya, which application was acknowledged via a letter dated 26th October 2021. However, no further communication was received from the Board until he received a letter dated 23rd February 2022 from the board informing him that registration was not automatic.
He further claimed that without registration under the Act, he is barred from using the term “engineer’ under Section 47 of offering professional engineering services under Section 49(1) of the Act. It has also been discovered that on 10th March 2022, the Registrar Engineers Board of Kenya appeared before the National Assembly’s Committee on education to answer a petition from engineering students who had not been registered by the board.
The Registrar informed the committee that the reason for not registering the students was that the courses offered by Technical University of Kenya (TUK), had not been accredited by the Board. The board, in a quick rejoinder through an affidavit sworn by Eng. Margaret N. Ogai the Registrar/CEO of the Board claimed that the Board is yet to communicate its conclusive decision on the registration and that the Board has not declined to register Kibuthu as a graduate engineer but has postponed the decision to allow it time to review the engineering courses offered by TUK.
The judge ruled “Having considered the foregoing, I find that the omission by the Board has violated the Petitioner’s rights under Article 47(1) and 55 of the Constitution”. It is important to note that the Board is yet to communicate to the Petitioner its decision on his application for registration as a graduate engineer close to 2 years after he made the application. The ruling further reads “As a result of this delay by the Board, the Petitioner has lost 2 years of his productive life which he will never be able to recover. Having found as I have that the Board has violated the Petitioners’ rights, it is necessary that the Petitioner be awarded compensation”. The judge proceeded to award as follows “I am of the view that an award of Ksh. 500,000 in general damages will be reasonable compensation, as an appropriate relief”.
The final orders read “In the end and in view of the foregoing I find that the Petition is merited and partially succeeds and I make the following orders”:
i) A declaration do hereby issue that by delaying its decision on the Petitioner’s application for registration as a graduate engineer, the 1st Respondent has violated his rights under Articles 47 and 55.
ii) The 1st Respondent shall pay to the Petitioner general damages assessed at Kshs. 500,000/= which shall carry interest at a rate of 12% per annum from the date of this judgment.
iii) The 1st Respondent shall conclude the review of the engineering programme offered by the Technical University of Kenya expeditiously and in any event not later than 31.7.23.
iv) The 1st Respondent shall make and communicate its decision on the Petitioner’s application for registration as a graduate student by 14.8.23.
v) Mention for compliance on 18.9.23.