Economy

Lecturers sue UoN in reforms dispute

University of Nairobi officials

University of Nairobi council chair Julia Ojiambo, Vice-Chancellor Stephen Kiama (centre) and council member Marie Rarieya (right) during a press conference announcing changes in governance structure, July 9, 2021. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG

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Summary

  • The lecturers union has taken the University of Nairobi to court over proposed changes that will see some schools and courses abolished and departments merged.
  • In a case filed under a certificate of urgency, University Academic Staff Union (Uasu) says vice-chancellor Stephen Kiama announced proposed changes without consultation.

The lecturers union has taken the University of Nairobi to court over proposed changes that will see some schools and courses abolished and departments merged.

In a case filed under a certificate of urgency, University Academic Staff Union (Uasu) says vice-chancellor Stephen Kiama announced proposed changes without consultation.

The union says it is a key stakeholder and they 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.

The union, through lawyer Titus Koceyo, wants the court to freeze the changes announced on July 14, pending the determination of the case.

Education Cabinet secretary George Magoha has stopped 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. He also merged institutes and departments such as the Institute of Diplomacy and International Studies, which was merged with the department of political science and public administration.

“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 Koceyo submitted.