The University of Nairobi (UoN) has announced plans to scrap more degree courses in austerity measures.
The university’s Vice-Chancellor, Prof Stephen Kiama, announced that they plan to drop more courses and merge others in a bid to reduce the ballooning debt at the institution.
Kiama affirmed that the university will also restrict hiring to critical departments as well as put more emphasis on engineering, medicine and Information Technology related courses.
He stated that the aim is to ensure that the university stays afloat amidst the cash crunch at the institution that has seen the debts exceed Ksh34 billion.
The university has decided to take drastic action to cut costs to ensure that the University of Nairobi is not removed from the map of Kenya. We must try as much as possible to live close to our means and improve our revenue,” he stated.
The university has currently defaulted on mandatory payments such as the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF), National Social Security Fund (NSSF), and Pay As You Earn (PAYE) as well payment of insurance premiums for its staff.
Currently, the staff at the institution add up to around 4,000 after the mass layoff that saw a huge number of lecturers axed due to the scrapping of 255 courses.
“We were offering more than 500 courses but we cut these to 300, but we can still push them down. The Senate is engaging to see which ones as we continue to downsize so that we focus where we have a competitive edge as a university.”
“We cannot just do what everybody else is doing, we must stick to where we know we are the best,” he stated.
The university VC affirmed that despite the changes made last year where the institution scrapped off a number of courses, the University of Nairobi is still facing a huge debt.
Last year, UoN had moved to scale down the number of courses offered from 579 to 324.
Further, eight colleges were abolished, faculty functions were reduced from 35 to 11, as well as functions merged in a move to reduce redundancy.
Kiama defended the decision noting that majority of the courses admitted less students while some did not have any applicants at all. That was despite the university allocating resources for the admission.
There are two different reasons why we removed the programmes. One of the things I said is the through put. The number of students you are graduating and when you look at it, you are incurring more costs than what we are collecting. Others have not admitted students for some time,” he pointed out.