More campuses face closure in fresh purge

More university campuses will be closed if they were established without following procedure.

Academic courses will also be reviewed to make them relevant to the national development agenda and market needs.

The decisions are among radical proposals arrived at during a two-day meeting of university council members in Naivasha from April 10 to 11.

In a communique, council members admitted that the expansion of universities was not well rationalised.

“The councils are committed to rationalise campuses, in line with available resources and international best practices,” added the communique.

The councils also resolved to monitor universities’ standards and guidelines on class size and student-staff ratio.

Universities audit report released in February showed a shortcoming in the 2:1 ratio for full-time academic staff to part-time staff. Most universities have a ratio of 1:2. The worst had a 1:42 and 1:72. The participants detected a mismatch between graduates and labour market needs.

They agreed to mount and enhance financial support to science, technology, engineering and mathematics to match the national development agenda.

The councils observed that there was insufficient and poor coordination in funding to students and universities.

They resolved to develop a five-year financial framework to redress this showing their sources of income and proposed expenditure as well as follow up with management boards on accounting of funds.

Already, the government has committed to universities based on courses they are offering as well as funding students based on their degree courses.

The universities admitted that the disjointed nature of universities had hurt their growth.

During the meeting, it was observed that governance of public universities was not up to scratch. Conflict of interest, nepotism, corruption, lack of accountability and mismanagement of resources were cited.

“The councils will strictly comply with the constitutional and legal frameworks for effective management of the university,” added the communique.

The councils also resolved to adapt automation in finances, resources, and students records and security.

The councils will now be required to submit annual reports to the Commission for University Education to capture staff development.

Concerns were also raised over high concentration of employment of non-academic staff, which hurt resource distribution in favour of non-core functions.

The councils agreed to audit and rationalise the staff to focus on the core functions of the university.

It was also observed that the universities were weak in promoting research and innovation, affecting their contribution to the nation.

Universities are now required to carry out an analysis of their research and financial commitments as well as audit on research. The institutions are required to allocate at least two per cent of the expenditure to research.

It was also observed that universities are becoming potential grounds for national insecurity, radicalisation, drug abuse, violent extremism as well as political and ethnic alliances.

“The councils are committed to support the development of security systems to monitor the activities in the university,” added the communique.

The communique was signed by Prof Shem Adholla for public universities, Prof Chacha Nyaigoti Chacha for Commission for University Education and Prof Francis Aduol for Vice-chancellors Committee.

The meeting was presided over by Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i.

ERC announces reduced prices of fuel in new review

US ‘stonewalling’ on Sh42bn military aircraft sale deal