Anxiety as Magoha meets VCs ahead of university mergers


Anxiety as Magoha meets VCs ahead of university mergers

George Magoha.
Education Secretary George Magoha. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Vice-chancellors of public universities have been summoned for an urgent meeting in Nairobi Thursday that insiders say will set the stage for major reforms that could see some institutions merged and others shut down.

The meeting that Education Secretary George Magoha is expected to chair comes as the institutions grapple with the financial crisis due to a decline in the number of students and reduced government funding.

The Commission for University Education, which Prof Magoha tasked to prepare a report on the merger of universities is also expected to table its preliminary report.

The session that is set to be tense as some vice-chancellors have openly rejected the government plan to merge universities.

In his Budget speech, Treasury Secretary Henry Rotich said the more than 32 universities will have to be merged or closed down.

On Thursday, vice chancellors who will be attending the meeting at Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development said the ministry had not given them the agenda of the forum.

“We have been told that the agenda of the meeting will be tabled once it starts,’ said a vice-chancellor who asked not to be named.

Vice-chancellors Committee chairman Francis Aduol could not be reached for comment.

However, Education officials said the major focus would on the funding of universities.

The university managers will also be briefed on the fate of 27,000 staff, which include 9,000 lecturers, ahead of planned academic and non-academic job cuts.

“University reforms are critical at this stage.

“We shall review all the university public financial and management systems, appraise ongoing projects with a view to restructuring them and implement radical measures that will include merger or closure of some universities and campuses that are not able to sustain their operations against the number of students admitted or degree offered,” said Mr Rotich.