Priminng Higher Education in Africa; Catholic University of Eastern Africa

July 27th, 2004 - 05:53 PST



The Catholic University of Eastern Africa, CUEA, is an academic institution of higher learning situated in the Karen- Langata area of Nairobi. It offers Diploma, Degree, Masters and Doctorate programmes in a variety of academic disciplines. The University seeks to promote excellence in scientific research, quality teaching and community service for the purpose of promoting wholesome human development. Its programmes are designed to prepare qualified personnel for Church and Society.

Brief history of CUEA

The Catholic University of Eastern Africa, CUEA, started modestly as a graduate School of Theology known as the Catholic Higher Institute of Eastern Africa, CHIEA. The Institute was founded in 1984 by the regional ecclesiastical authority known as the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA). The Member countries are Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.

In 1986, the Graduate School of Theology started negotiations with the Commission for Higher Education in Kenya towards the establishment of the Catholic University of Eastern Africa, CUEA. In 1989, the Institute obtained the Letter of Interim Authority, hence the establishment of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

The Institute was granted the Charter on 3rd November 1992. This marked the birth of the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA) as a private institution of higher learning.

The Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA) seeks to prepare leaders distinguished not only by their academic and professional expertise, but also by high moral standards. The Faculties dedicate themselves to educating and training students in scientific methods of research, both in theory and practice so as to enable graduates to contribute more meaningfully to the cultural, scientific and economic development of societies.

In addition to the main campus, Langata, the University also has three Constituent Colleges namely: Hekima College, Tangaza College and Marist International Centre. It also has affiliated institutes and colleges mainly in East Africa, for example Dom Bosco College in Tanzania.

The University Governance

The University Council is the highest governing body. It comprises of representatives from the AMECEA Bishops, the University and co-opted members from various professions. The University Senate is the highest academic body within the University.

The chairman of AMECEA is invariably the Chancellor of the University. Presently, the Chancellor of the University is Most. Rev. Paul Bakyenga, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Mbarara, Uganda. The Most Rev. Raphael Ndingi Mwana a’ Nzeki, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Nairobi is the Pro-Chancellor of CUEA.

The University has opted for collegial administration which promotes participatory processes in decision making. Through the Catholic University Students Organization, (CUSO) students are adequately represented in the decision making structures of the University including the Senate.

CUEA – Programme of Studies

CUEA has four faculties: the Faculty of Theology, the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, the Faculty of Commerce and the Faculty of Science. The Centre for Social Justice and Ethics, CSJE, has also been recently launched to specifically address the issues of justice and peace in the democratization process of Africa. The Faculties and the Centre offer programmes leading to various Diplomas, Bachelors, Masters and Doctorate Degrees in various disciplines. The following is a highlight of the faculties:

a) The Faculty of Theology is an academic organ of the Church and a centre for research and publication meant to enable the family of God in the AMECEA to effectively fulfill its mission of evangelisation in the Third Millennium.

The programmes offered include Biblical Theology, Canon Law, Church History, Dogmatic Theology, Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Sacred Liturgy and Spiritual Theology. The Faculty is dedicated to research in the inculturation of Christianity in Africa. It seeks to develop a theology, which is relevant, credible and transformative for integral life of the people in Africa and beyond.

b) Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences: The Faculty offers programmes in Education, English, Geography, History, Kiswahili, Philosophy, Religious Studies, Social Education and Ethics, and Social Science (Economics, Sociology, Anthropology, Social Work and Political Science).

The Faculty also offers a Postgraduate Diploma in Planning and Management of Development Projects and Post- graduate Diploma in Education. It offers M.A. in Philosophy and Religious Studies. M. Ed. in Education and Ph.D. in Religious Studies and Education

c) Faculty of Commerce: This Faculty offers four options for the Bachelor of Commerce programme: Accounting, Finance, Management of Human Resources and Marketing.

d) Faculty of Science: The Faculty of Science offers Bachelor of Science (BSc) programmes in Mathematics, Computer Science, Biology, Chemistry and Physics.

Additionally, plans are underway to launch the following Programmes in January 2005: Master of Science in Mathematics (MSc in Mathematics), Masters in Business Administration (MBA) and Bachelor of Laws (LLB).

The University academic year runs from August to April. During the long holiday, that is, from May to August, the University offers Certificate Courses in Planning and Management of Development Projects; Guidance and Counseling; Applied Statistics; Conflict Management; Community Development and Social Work; Creative Writing and Publishing; Computer Science, Church Management & Leadership and a Diploma in Computer Science

Intensive University Access (Pre-University) is offered to students who have obtained a mean grade of C in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Examination (KCSE) and plan to join the University. In order to enable qualified University students to meet specific departmental requirements, Bridging Courses in Mathematics and English are also offered.

CUEA - Student Enrolment & Campus Life

The University statistics reveal that the student population has steadily increased since the University’s inception. To date the University has a population of 2080 students of which 1093 are female and 987 are male. CUEA has a remarkable female population of 52%, arguably one of the highest percentages in Africa.

Although we admit students from various countries, the majority of them are Kenyans. A good number of students are from Eastern and Central Africa, and other parts of the world. The interaction of cultures gives the Catholic University a unique and rich diversity. The policy of the University is to admit students without discriminating national origin, religion, age, sex or handicap as long as he/she fulfills the University admission requirements. However, students who get admitted to the Catholic University are expected to respect the teaching and practice of the Catholic Church

Students participate in numerous co-curricula activities. The University recreational facilities offer ideal opportunities for students and staff to relax from the rigorous academic work. Our students have always excelled in soccer, volleyball and basketball.

Current Major Challenges in CUEA

CUEA is a growing University and hence abound with challenges. The most crucial of these are the need to cope with the HIV/AIDS scourge and the need for a new and modern Library and Learning resource centre. Other challenges include the need to strengthen and expand the current academic programmes, expanding research and publications, ensuring academic excellence and moral integrity and developing the capacity of the staff.

1. HIV/AIDS: This is a major challenge for the country. The University has a major role to play in managing the HIV/AIDS prevalence. CUEA has put in place various initiatives in this fight: Most significantly, the University has formed an AIDS Control Unit; HIV/AIDS has been integrated into the curriculum; the University has organized awareness campaigns for both staff and students; a number of staff have been sponsored to undertake courses in the management of HIV/AIDS; the University has organized advocacy and outreach programmes including a HIV/AIDS day where students and staff reach out to other communities outside the University; the University has also organized seminars and invited various facilitators and participants. Nevertheless, the University has always welcomed supplementary efforts.

2. A Modern Library and Learning Resource Centre: This is the second major challenge for the University. With the current student population of over 2000 undergraduate students, 250 postgraduate students, and over 100 full time Faculty members, which is estimated to double within the next five years, the existing library with a capacity of only 330 readers is too small, hence the urgent need for a bigger modern library.

CUEA, as a non-profit making organization is not in a position to raise US $ 5 Million, the money required to put up the new library, from fees paid by students. Hence, the need for a Capital Campaign effort. With the support of friends, alumni, parents and corporate bodies, this two-year Library Capital Campaign was launched in May 2003 and is on-going.


The Catholic University of Eastern Africa, CUEA was set up to provide knowledge and skills to all, especially the young people. The University firmly believes in increasing educational opportunities for the disadvantaged, educating new leaders and thinkers and fostering knowledge and skills geared towards development in all spheres of life.

Contact:  The Catholic University of Eastern Africa  , KE
Biko Gwendo - Advancement Services Officer, 254 020 - 891601
Keywords:  CUEA