University of Nairobi lecturers are opposed to a decision to scrap an agency that runs the parallel degree programmes, terming it unilateral.
They say they were not consulted or forewarned about the decision and fear that they may lose monies owed to them by the Centre for Self-Sponsored Programmes, which deals with revenues generated from the privately-sponsored students.
“Our biggest worry is that in scrapping the agency, the university did not appoint an alternative authority to take care of the interests of the lecturers who teach, examine and graduate the students,” Dr Richard Bosire, the chairperson of the Nairobi chapter of the Universities Academic Staff Union, said.
University Council Chairperson Julia Ojiambo last week revoked the statute establishing the centre and deployed its employees to the mainstream services of the university.
Prof Ojiambo also ordered relevant organs within the institution to take over the centre’s bank accounts and activities.
On Tuesday, Dr Bosire said the centre owes lecturers allowances of close to a billion shillings and that it should not have been wound up until such liabilities were sorted out.
The decision to scrap the agency followed a presidential directive to public universities on November 1 to start austerity measures to ensure efficient use of resources.
UoN acting Vice-Chancellor Isaac Mbeche said in a separate memo to staff on November 1 that the finance department would be in charge of collecting and disbursing fees and other income from Module II programmes. The VC, who declined to be interviewed on the programme’s future said: “Direct service providers will continue to be paid as per applicable policies.”
Curiously, the memo stated that students would continue paying fees into bank accounts operated by the centre that had ceased to exist.
He also said the maintenance of data and statistics for self-sponsored students will now be handled by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (DVC) for Academic Affairs, a role that should fall under the Finance DVC.
Dr Bosire said 30 per cent of the revenue collected from the Module II programmes is dedicated to lecturers’ allowances but that the amount was reduced to 20 per cent in 2014 to boost the construction of the 21-floor University of Nairobi Towers.
The programmes sustainability was thrown into doubt in 2017 when then Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i announced that public universities will absorb candidates who scored a mean grade of C+ and above in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education exams.