What you need to know:
- University accused of silently reorganising and has yet to formally inform dons in affected departments.
- Lecturers fear mergers or scrapping of department could render teaching staff redundant.
- At least 30 departments have been targeted in the restructuring.
Panic over expected job losses and massive disruption has hit Moi University as it starts huge reorganisation that will see it merge or scrap various departments in a bid to cut operations costs.
Departments offering similar courses are set to be lumped together under one dean supported by heads of department.
At least 30 departments have been targeted in the restructuring.
According to lecturers who talked to Nation, the university has been silently reorganising and has yet to formally inform dons in affected departments.
It is only this week that some of the faculties, normally referred to as schools, have called for meetings over the planned mergers.
The School of Information Sciences, for instance, has held a special sitting on Wednesday to deliberate on expected changes. Lectures and students at the Department of Communication Studies, which has hitherto been under the School of Arts, will now join the School of Information Sciences.
Lecturers who spoke to Nation, but requested anonymity for fear of victimisation, said they have not been informed of the expected changes or how the reorganisation will be done.
They said some of the teaching staff could be rendered redundant once departments are merged.
“It is not being done in an open manner so we are not sure if our jobs are safe. We just read in the newspapers about the ongoing restructuring. We hope to get more information this week,” said one of the dons.
Dr Ishmael Aiyabei, the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union Moi University branch secretary, told Nation that the union had been informed that its members would not be affected.
He, however, said the schools had been asked by the university’s administration to submit their proposals on the restructuring adding that he was waiting for a final report on the same from the School of Health Sciences.
Dr Aiyabei said he did not expect any of their members to lose their jobs.
“We were told that the merging will only affect the administrative section and not the academic unit. This could mainly affect some of the non-teaching staff and not the academic staff. The heads of departments were told to send their proposals on the matter and we believe they have done so,” said Dr Aiyabei.
He asked the union members to find out more information from their departments.
“For now, we do not expect any of the academic staff to lose their jobs. We are asking our members to engage further the heads of their departments on this,” added the KMPPDU official.
The Kenya Universities Staff Union Secretary General Charles Mukhwaya said they were not aware of the restructuring at the university warning that any process that would hurt their members would be opposed.
He said they expected the university to involve all the stakeholders in any activity that would affect its members.
“We do not have any information yet on the restructuring but it would not be procedural if it is being done in hidden way. The university ought to sit down with all the stakeholders when doing such things. We are for tranquility in all the universities but with such things being planned without our knowledge then expect resistance from the union,” said Dr Mukhwaya.
The university has recently faced a tumultuous time owing to massive financial mismanagement and bloated workforce.
The Vice-Chancellor Isaac Kosgey, who took over the management of the institution last March, has promised a through cleanup in a bid to rid it of the financial mess he inherited from the previous regimes.
A damning audit report ordered by the Ministry of Education three years ago revealed a financial hole that was threatening to wholly swallow the institution.
The audit showed massive irregularities in which the university had dozens of accounts that were often used to swindle the institution’s finances.
The Special Audit Report on Financial Operations at Moi University for the Financial Years 2013/14 to 2015/2016 found that at least Sh1 billion had been embezzled.
Senior administration officials were sacked after the release of the audit.