I therefore wish to outline my five 5-point reform agenda aimed at transforming the University into
“A vibrant, relevant and Sustainable University”
This is because we want to have a University that
Benefits the present and future generation: Provides highest quality learning and teaching for students: Leads in research, innovation and entrepreneurship: Attracts, grows, supports and recognizes talent among students and staff
To inspire and achieve these aspirations, there is need to Institute comprehensive reforms at the University of Nairobi. The planned reforms will advance the University onto the trajectory to excellence and foster an entrepreneurial and innovation culture.
However, as we carry out these reforms, we shall not loose sight that the University of Nairobi is a strategic public entity. Consequently, we shall continue to institute measures to engage the Government as the sponsor of public education in Kenya, to deliberately channel more resources to the University. The resources from the government will ensure that we continue to carry out those mandates that are of common good to the people of Kenya.
The reforms will be guided by the University of Nairobi philosophy and the following principles
• Alignment to the core mandate of the University
• Efficiency and accountability
• Impact to society
• Value for money
The University is guided by the Philosophy for the need to inspire and connect with the Kenyan community, to provide leadership and stewardship and to give hope and faith to the Kenyan society that it can excel in whatever it chooses to do with passion, moral responsibility and a strong sense of patriotism.
The Expected Outcomes
The University of Nairobi will be
- The destination of choice for outstanding local and international students, scholars, innovators and industry
- The preferred knowledge partner for government, private sector, development partners and society in general on ideas, solutions, critique and policy directions
- The trusted resource in thought leadership and impact on the society culturally, politically, socially and economically
Focus of the Reforms
My five-point reform agenda have been selected on the basis of fulfilling the five guiding principles. These are synergistic
Agenda Number 1: Data driven management reforms
In 2016, our Chancellor recommended a visitation of the university. The Visitation Panel observed that one of the constraints impeding institutional planning and efficient management of the University was the absence of a coordinated university-wide data management and access system.
We therefore shall invest our energies and resources towards setting up a comprehensive and integrated data management system. This will entail reengineering our business processes and enhancing and embedding the use of technology in:
- Curriculum content delivery
- Student management including the administration of exams and timetabling.
- Human resource management
- Financial management
Data will change how decisions are made, optimize deployment of resources and improve overall systemic output.
Agenda number 2 - Governance Reforms
University has over the years grown in size and complexity. To stay in step with the needs of the university, there is compelling need to refresh our management, administrative, oversight and governance structures. This will entail:
- Elimination of redundant and overlapping systems, processes, structures and reporting centres
- In-building of flow of authority, resources, responsibility and accountability to the lowest levels
- Sharing and devolution of power to enhance accountability, efficiency and effectiveness
- Institutionalization of efficient decision, policy making and implementation at every level
- Refocussing our human, financial and institutional resources to the core mandate of the University.
Agenda number 3- Curricula
Embark on the path of fit-for-purpose training.
To do this, we will:
Review the courses offered at the University of Nairobi with a view to:
- Assess the overall cost of implementation of each program and the level to which they respond to market, industry, societal and government needs.
- Weed out redundant and overlapping courses and programs
Additionally, we will:
- Interrogate the depth of substance coverage in the delivery of curricula, and inculcation of appropriate practical skills and entrepreneurial spirit and culture
- Recalibrate our metrics of world class-talent and make deliberate effort towards internationalization of the University.
Agenda number 4- Financial reforms.
- Currently, the University is operating under a huge financial deficit. This impedes its path to world class status. Consequently, these reforms are geared towards institutionalizing prudent financial management and controls to put the University back to a positive financial health and path to sustainability.
Specifically, this reform agenda will address:
- Efficient and participatory budget formulation mechanisms, fiscal and budgetary discipline
- Efficient payment and banking services
- Review Systems to stop revenue leakage, wastage, and optimize utilization of resources
- Re-engineer grants management to effectively support research
- Commercialization our intangible assets
An efficient and optimal internal financial ecosystem will allow the university to move with confidence towards scaling external resource mobilization with a high level of confidence that any cent received will render 100% value for money and eliminate the financial deficit.
Agenda number 5- People focused reforms
The University students, staff, partners and our collaborators are the foundation of the success of the University. The university will therefore proactively take deliberate steps to brand itself and to add value to its staff and students. This reform agenda aims to:
- Identify and celebrate talents and achievements of our staff and students,
- Exploit intangible assets and promote research and technology transfer ecosystem
- Ensure that the University attracts, recruits, supports and retains outstanding staff and students
- Provide a diverse, inclusive, fair and open work environment where our people give their best to their work and feel valued
- Internationalize both faculty and students
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I want to acknowledge that the reform path is not always smooth. We will have to overcome many obstacles but I am confident that with your support, commitment and endurance, we shall reach there.
Our first President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta during his inauguration as the first chancellor of the University of Nairobi in Dec 1970 stated as follows
“Here is an institution of the highest importance, integrating into the life of our republic. There must in the future be no mutual isolation of the University body and the executive centers of national design and decision. There must be the fullest use of resources within the University so as to secure the fruit of intellect and technology within the framework of nationhood. I am confident that this university will abundantly justify the hopes and sacrifices of our people”
I call on all of us to reflect on these words as we embark on the reform path.
Thank you and God bless.
PROF. STEPHEN KIAMA GITAHI, PhD
UNIVERSITY OF NAIROBI
28th August 2020