The University of Nairobi (UoN) has announced plans to remove more degree programs as part of its austerity measures.
Prof Stephen Kiama, the university’s Vice-Chancellor, announced plans to drop more courses and merge others in an effort to reduce the institution’s ballooning debt.
“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.
Kiama confirmed that the university will limit hiring to critical departments and will place a greater emphasis on engineering, medicine, and information technology courses.
He stated that the goal is to keep the university afloat in the midst of a cash crunch at the institution, which has debts totalling more than Ksh 34 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 is currently in arrears on mandatory payments such as the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF), the National Social Security Fund (NSSF), and Pay As You Earn (PAYE), as well as insurance premiums for its employees.
After a massive layoff that resulted in the axing of a large number of lecturers as a result of the cancellation of 255 courses, the institution now employs around 4,000 people.
“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’s vice-chancellor confirmed that, despite changes made last year in which the institution dropped a number of courses, the University of Nairobi is still deeply in debt.
Last year, UoN reduced the number of courses offered from 579 to 324.
Kiama defended the decision, pointing out that the majority of the courses admitted fewer students, while others had no applicants at all. Despite the university allocating resources for admission, this was the case.