Magoha meets varsity heads to begin reforms

Kimathi University of Science and Technology Vice Chancellor Ndirangu Kioni (Third right), in a procession during the 8th Graduation ceremony recently. Kimathi University broken tradition by holding annual graduation in three consecutive days in April. [Kibata Kihu/Standard]

Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha is today expected to brief Vice Chancellors on far-reaching reforms in the country's universities education.

Today's meeting comes after another on Sunday by vice chancellors as anxiety gripped universities on a looming overhaul including scrapping of some degree programmes as well as closing or merging some campuses.

The Standard has established that the ministry will today lay bare the reform path for universities. If adopted, some of the vice chancellors and deputy vice chancellors might lose their jobs or be deployed as principals of constituent colleges in the wider rationalisation plan.

Some of the teaching and support staff might also lose their jobs as the reforms will also see some academic programmes scrapped or only taught in specific universities.

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Strongest indication

Presenting the 2019/2020 budget last week, National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich gave the strongest indication on the looming reforms.

“…we shall implement radical measures that will include merger or closure of some universities and university campuses that are not able to sustain their operations against the number of students admitted or degree courses offered,” Mr Rotich said.

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Buoyed by the statement, it is understood the Education ministry is keen to seize the moment and drive the painful changes.

Sources revealed the vice chancellors held their consultative meeting on the impending reforms on Sunday last week.

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Details of the VCs' meeting remain scanty but sources revealed the focus of their discussions was the impending reforms.

The VCs' consultation signaled growing concern in the higher learning institutions on what exactly to expect on the reform menu.

Magoha has given a hint on the changes he hopes to implement in the higher education sector during his tenure.

“I would expect to see a proposal on how we rationalise the existing universities so that we can have universities that are of high quality, providing the necessary student support for learning, are involved in relevant research, and are globally competitive,” he said during a recent State of University Education conference.

Magoha listed six reform points that, he said, would support the rationalisation agenda.

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“It is still my strong believe that universities must consider right-sizing and down-sizing of staff to ensure proper staffing norms,” he said.

He also proposed rationalisation of academic programmes and institutions in the country to ensure full potential of the ?existing universities and campuses is realised.

Magoha also called for a freeze on establishment of new universities and satellite campuses and consolidating of similar academic programmes.

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George MagohaVice ChancellorsUniversitiesReforms