Corporate

Court stops proposed changes at UoN

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Lady Justice Onyango Maureen Atieno. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • Employment and Labour court judge Maureen Onyango has stopped University of Nairobi from implementing proposed changes that will see some schools and courses abolished and departments merged.
  • UoN Vice Chancellor Prof Kiama announced the abolishment of schools of pharmacy, nursing, medicine, dentistry and economics.
  • Uasu says being a key stakeholder, it ought to have been consulted before any matters touching on changes or reforms at the university were made.

A judge has stopped University of Nairobi from implementing proposed changes that will see some schools and courses abolished and departments merged.

Employment and Labour court judge Maureen Onyango certified the case as urgent and directed the University not to implement the proposed changes or forward the memo to the CS Ministry of Education or Commission of Higher Education for consideration, pending the determination of the case.

In the case filed by University Academic Staff Union (UASU), the lecturers union argues that the proposed changes have no policy framework nor transitional guidelines for the current governance structure, a move they argued has caused anxiety, disquiet and confusion in the university.

The union further said the changes announced by Vice Chancellor Prof Stephen Kiama on July 14, were made unilaterally and without consultation.

Uasu says being a key stakeholder, it ought to have been consulted before any matters touching on changes or reforms at the university were made. UASU says to be left out of the consultation amounts to infringement of their rights. 

“The exclusion of the petitioner on matters touching on reforms or changes affecting the provision of university education will ultimately affect the members of the academic staff or other terms and conditions of employment,” the petition stated.

Education CS George Magoha has already issued a memo stopping the proposed charges saying any plans that affect governance and administrative structures of a public university or constituent college, especially those not envisaged in the Universities Act, 2012, must comply with the necessary legal framework governing such changes. 

Prof Magoha said the changes should then be forwarded to the ministry through the Commission for University Education.

Prof Kiama announced the abolishment of schools of pharmacy, nursing, medicine, dentistry and economics. The VC also merged institutes and departments such as Institute of Diplomacy and International Studies (IDS), which was merged with the department of political science and public administration.

UASU further said the changes took away the teaching and training roles from IDS leaving doctoral and masters students with nowhere to go. 

“The principals, directors, deans of abolished colleges, institutes and faculties have been relieved of their positions yet they have current unexpired terms of contract. The members of the affected colleges, institutes and faculties are equally staring at job losses,” Mr Titus Koceyo for the union submitted.