VICE-CHANCELLOR’S ADDRESS TO UNIVERSITY OF NAIROBI COMMUNITY ON OCTOBER 23, 2020
Members of the University of Nairobi community
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Receive my salutations
As you recall, I promised that Senate will be meeting to review the situation and approve resumption of on campus learning for specific groups of students. I am pleased to announce that the Senate recently approved the resumption of phased on-campus learning starting from November 9, 2020. The Senate decision is meant to help the students whose programs require practical learning in the laboratory to report back to campus. We have therefore invited the first year students in the Colleges of Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences, Architecture and Engineering, Biological and Physical Sciences, Health Sciences and all students pursuing sciences in the College of Education and External Studies to report on this date to their respective colleges. The rest of students will continue with online learning until further notice.
Ladies and gentlemen, as we get excited and look forward to the return of the on-campus learning, we must appreciate that COVID is still with us and remain vigilant. The safe resumption of on-campus learning requires conformity to the Ministry of Health's COVID-19 protocols and guidelines. I appeal to all members of staff and students to remain vigilant.
I thank all members of staff for continuing to offer services largely using the online platforms since the COVID 19 pandemic visited upon us and rudely interrupted our life. I am also happy to note that our staff at University health services have done exemplary well in taking care of our staff who have tested positive with COVID 19. COVID 19 is real.
Ladies and Gentlemen, in line with our reform agenda on people, that is, recognition and retention of talents, capacity building and motivation of staff through rewards and promotions, the Council recently approved the guidelines on recruitment and promotion of academic members of staff. As you are aware, many promotions were pending because we did not have an approved criterion for promotion of the teaching members of staff since the one we used before was challenged in court. I thank all members of staff for contributing to the development of the guidelines and for remaining patient.
Ladies and gentlemen, we continue to get reports that there are some members of staff who receive pay without offering any service to the University or are in full employment elsewhere. This is unacceptable. We shall continue to recover any money paid to anyone who has not offered the service they are paid for. However, it is even better to ensure no one receives money for services they have not offered. In this respect, I call upon all head of Departments and units to be vigilant and to report any case of anyone who fails to carry out their allocated duties promptly for appropriate action. Our position of “no work no pay” remains. We must remain committed to the motto of the University. Unitate et Labore. United and Labor. This is the only way we can keep the fire burning and therefore continue to give faith and hope to the Kenyan people.
Ladies and gentlemen, the University is committed to upholding institutional integrity and accountability. In this respect, the University of Nairobi Council recently approved the whistle blower policy which has been circulated to all stakeholders. This policy sets out the organizational approach and obligation to the detection and prevention of corruption and malpractice within the University of Nairobi. It provides a procedure for the making of good faith disclosures; protection of those who make such disclosures from reprisals; and a mechanism for appropriate investigation of and response to such disclosures I encourage all staff and students to read and internalize this policy as it takes full effect. I believe that the full implementation of this policy will improve accountability, efficiency and effectiveness of all our operations, ensure value for money in all expenditures and consequently enhance the performance of the University.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the recognition agreements and the Collective Bargaining Agreements between the University and the recognized unions provides for engagement in an environment of trust. As Vice-chancellor, am committed to continue to engage the unions and other stakeholders for the good of the University. In this respect I appeal to members of staff to avoid from being drawn to activities that besmirch the reputation of the University of Nairobi brand. We cannot fail to find solutions to issues that confront us from time to time at the University.
Ladies and gentleman, as promised earlier in the year, I would like to inform you that the process of reviewing students who have been expelled from the University is on course. The Pardon Advisory Committee has already reviewed and recommended several students to be readmitted to the University. These students will receive their letters of re-admission shortly. This is a big milestone for the University of Nairobi. It is my hope that the students will take this offer for a second chance to complete their studies and go out to serve the society.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I wish to thank all those who participated in the recently concluded virtual UON Research week 2020. The conference had 868 participants drawn from across the globe representing academia, government and industry. Kudos to the organizing committee for a job well done!
Ladies and gentlemen, I wish to inform you that the 64th Graduation Ceremony is slated to take place on December 11, 2020. This is our Second Graduation this year following the one we held in September. I call upon all students who are due to graduate this year to make all the necessary clearance well ahead of time.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I wish to inform you that the reform Agenda that I shared earlier in the year is still on course. We have made good progress on financial reforms. We began with the financial reforms to try and reduce the expenditure which has consistently remained higher than the income over a number of years. In order to develop a long term strategy, Senate recently recommended appointment of a committee to develop and recommend bold measures that will get the University out of the current financial Challenge. The committee is chaired by Prof. Karuti Kanyinga, Director Institute of Development Studies and Deputized by Prof. Harriet Kidombo, the Deputy Director of ODeL Centre. The road map for curriculum reforms has also been developed and I have asked the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academic Affairs Prof. Julius Ogeng’o to lead this initiative. All staff are requested to give their views to inform the actions to be undertaken under any of the reform agendas.
Thank you and God bless you.
PROF.S.KIAMA GITAHI, PhD.