UoN freezes hiring as low enrolment hits cash flow

Prof Peter Mbithi
Prof Peter Mbithi, the University of Nairobi vice chancellor. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NMG 

The University of Nairobi has frozen hiring of lecturers and other staff after lower entry grade cut its student population by 30,348 with the lucrative parallel degree hit hardest.

UoN vice-chancellor Peter Mbithi said the institution will not replace those who retire, reduce critical staff working beyond retirement age and shed half of workers on contract.

The university has been the hardest hit by the sharp drop in the number KCSE candidates scoring the C+ and above grade required for university entry cut enrolment, further worsening its cash flow.

Data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) shows university enrolment declined to 67,827 this year from 98,715 in 2015—making it the first drop since the government started making public student numbers in the 1990s.

Prof Mbithi said in a notice that each department will be at liberty to identify staff who are not required insisting that the move is not to victimise anyone.

“Stop all overtime payments, only permit in exceptional cases with justification and on a case by case basis for each occurrence. Rationalise staff work load across the board for maximum efficiency and ensure non-replacement of retired staff,” read the notice outlining austerity measures.

The university said it received Sh391 million from the Treasury for the pay of its 4,945 workers against a need of Sh870million, leaving it with a deficit of Sh500million.

It will retain academic staff who are past 70 years only if they are involved in research, supervision of post graduate students and are also able to bring research grants to the University.

Prof Mbithi also announced that the University now hire part time lecturers for its Kisumu and Mombasa campuses.