High Court Rules on UoN's Controversial Changes

  • UON VC Prof Stephen Gitahi Kiama at the University of Nairobi during the launch of its council's strategic plan for 2019-2024
    UON VC Prof Stephen Gitahi Kiama at the University of Nairobi during the launch of its council's strategic plan for 2019-2024 in 2019.
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  • The High Court of Kenya has, on Thursday, July 22, issued a ruling against the implementation of a framework to restructure the University of Nairobi. The plans were announced by Vice-Chancellor, Stephen Kiama on July 9.

    “Due to the constitutional and fundamental issues raised in this petition by UASU which touch on the core structure of the university, a conservatory order is hereby issued suspending the implementation of the proposed changes,” ruled Justice Onyango.

    This order means that all the previous positions and abolished colleges will continue to exist until the case is determined in court.

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    UoN VC Professor Stephen Kiama addresses first years during a virtual orientation on Thursday, September 3, 2020
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    The court ruling followed a suit made by representatives of the Universities Academic Staff Union (UASU) who argued that both the Commission of University Education (CUE) and Ministry of Education (MoE) had not been consulted in the decision to scrap all colleges of the institution, claims which Kiama vehemently denied.

    While seeking a permanent injunction to the reforms, UASU also argued that a significant number of students were left without a solution after courses they were studying were suddenly merged with others while some were entirely scrapped.

    “He (UoN VC) has taken away the teaching and training roles from the Institute of Development Studies, leaving the doctoral and master students with nowhere to go. He has abolished courses without due regard to ongoing students’ studies,” lamented UASU.

    Education CS, Magoha was roped in as UASU faulted the Ministry of Education for being complicit in the ‘illicit’ reforms. They alluded this to the Ministry of Education's absence from the matter including not seeking to be consulted.

    Gospel musician and presidential aspirant Reuben Kigame weighed in on the matter, lamenting the apparent politicization of academic affairs.

    Renowned gospel musician Reuben Kigame
    Renowned gospel musician Reuben Kigame
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    “I wish Kenya would stop politicizing education and instead leave universities to run their own affairs,” tweeted Kigame on Thursday, July 22.

    In the new structure, the University of Nairobi (UoN) replaced five offices of Deputy Vice-Chancellors with two positions of Associate Vice-Chancellors. Additionally, colleges were abolished and the 35 faculties were refined to a maximum of 11.

    Nonetheless, the university has moved forward in the restructuring process and announced new faculty heads.

    Justice Maureen Onyango slated the next hearing for July 28, 2021.

    High court judge Joel Ngugi
    High court judge Joel Ngugi
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