In a bid to pull itself from financial doldrums, the University of Nairobi has outlined radical and governance reforms.
These reforms announced yesterday by Council chair Prof. Julia Ojiambo include abolishment of offices, merger of functions and creation of new functions.
Earlier this week, Treasury CS Ukur Yatani in a report on Reforms of State Corporations said UoN, is “operating below cost recovery.” The university is Kenya’s oldest public institution of higher learning. Other public institutions in Yatani’s list of cash-strapped infamy are Kenyatta University, Jomo Kenyatta University Of Agriculture And Technology, Moi University, Kenya Wildlife Service, Athi Water Works, Kenya National Examinations Council and Kenyatta National Hospital.
“Some of the abolished positions are five Offices of the Deputy Vice-chancellors replaced by two positions of Associate Vice-chancellors,” said Prof. Ojiambo. “We have abolished all colleges and reorganized all functions around faculties which have been reduced to eleven to avoid duplication and functional overreach.”
Prof. Ojiambo announced that all positions of Principals and Deputy Principals have been abolished and their roles reorganized under new positions of Executive and Associate Deans to align resources to the faculties where teaching and learning take place.
“14 research institutes including KAVI, Wangari Maathai Institute for Peace and Environmental Studies (WMI), Institute of Development Studies (IDS) have been retained to continue generating knowledge for transformation of communities,” she added.
The new structure is informed by the centrality of teaching, research and innovations functions at the core of the UoN mandate. A robust ICT infrastructure alongside requisite investments, reinvestments, improvements and facility development aspirations under University Advancement are deemed critical components for delivery of teaching, research and innovation going forward.
“To keep the boat afloat, the administrative support services will be consolidated under various functions and respective professional heads all reporting to a Chief Operating Officer (COO) who directly answers to the Vice- chancellor,” announced Prof. Ojiambo.
It is envisioned that these structural interventions will result in shorter decision turnaround time and greater fiscal discipline as evident in timely decision support systems, value for money proposition, significant cost savings, greater competitive advantage and enhanced sustainability.
“As a Council, we confirm that the exercise of implementing these and other reforms will endeavour to avoid unnecessary disruptions in service delivery and optimal deployment of resources available to the University.