UoN restructuring in limbo after Magoha halts university changes

Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha

Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha during an event at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) in Nairobi on June 9, 2021. 

Photo credit: Francis Nderitu | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Prof Magoha has told institutions of higher learning and their constituent colleges that the university sector operates within the existing legal framework and are expected to make any changes under the existing laws.

Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha has stopped all restructuring in public universities in a move that may reverse the changes introduced by the University of Nairobi.

He said his office had not been consulted and no gazettement has been done

In a letter to all vice-chancellors, principals of constituent colleges and chairpersons of the institutions and constituent college councils, Prof Magoha said the proposed reviews need university charters to either be amended or done through legal notice.

Prof Magoha added that such changes by universities must be forwarded to the Ministry of Education through the Commission for University Education for gazettement in line with the University Act 2012.

“Any proposed changes must be accompanied by the rationale for the institution, the proposed changes and proposed human resources instruments including the organising structure, staff establishment, human resource policies and guidelines, and council resolutions approving all above instruments and proposed recruitment and availability of budget to cater for the proposed restructuring until approvals and gazettement of the relevant instruments,” reads part of the letter dated July 14.

The minister said the proposed reviews that necessitate abolishing and establishing new positions in the governance and administrative structures of public universities and constituent colleges, especially those not envisaged under the Universities Act 2012, must comply with the necessary laws governing such changes and be forwarded to the ministry in consultation.

‘Final say’

Prof Magoha said the proposed reviews must be forwarded to the Cabinet secretary not later than three months after council approval of the proposed amendments.

“This communication supersedes any other communication,” he said.

The directives from Prof Magoha came after the University of Nairobi council chairperson Julia Ojiambo and vice-chancellor Stephen Kiama announced changes and restructuring at the institution a week ago.

Prof Ojiambo announced the abolishment of five offices of deputy vice-chancellors and replaced them with two positions of associate vice-chancellors.

The council also abolished all colleges and reorganised functions at the faculties from 35 to 11.

Further, all positions of principals and deputy principals, as well as their roles, were reorganised under new positions of executive and associate deans to align resources to the faculties where teaching and learning take place.

Prof Ojiambo said the abolishment of the new offices, merger of functions and creation of new positions were aligned to the core mandate of the university.

Legal structures

However, Prof Magoha has told the institutions of higher learning and their constituent colleges that the university sector operates within the existing legal framework and are expected to make any changes under the existing laws.

“Where the reviews necessitate amendments to the existing legal established structures, amendments should be forwarded for consideration, approval and gazettement where applicable,” he said.

According to the university legal framework, the positions of deputy vice-chancellors, principals and the colleges are contained in the university charters and statutes. Therefore, they cannot be reorganised without seeking legal advice from the Attorney-General and the Cabinet secretary’s office.

Prof Magoha said the council chairs and vice-chancellors could not affect any changes unless there is an amendment of the university chatters and statutes, which have those positions.

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