UNIVERSITY OF NAIROBI

A world-class university committed to scholarly excellence

State of the University Address

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UoN VC, Prof Peter Mbithi delivering the State of the University address on Wednesday December 19, 2018

STATE OF THE UNIVERSITY ADDRESS BY THE VICE-CHANCELLOR, UNIVERSITY OF NAIROBI, PROF. PETER M. F. MBITHI, HELD ON WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 19, 2018 IN TAIFA HALL AT 2.00 P.M.

 

STATE OF THE UNIVERSITY ADDRESS BY THE VICE-CHANCELLOR, UNIVERSITY OF NAIROBI, PROF. PETER M. F.  MBITHI, HELD ON WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 19, 2018 IN TAIFA HALL AT 2.00 P.M.

·      Madam Chancellor,

·       Chair of Council, Prof. Julia Ojiambo,

·       Members of the Council,

·       All members of Staff,

·       Students,

·       Ladies and Gentlemen

 

 

I welcome you all to this Staff and student assembly.

 

It is highly gratifying to find a special moment to share with you the key stakeholders; “The state of the University of Nairobi”. I am pleased and proud to say, with certainty, that the state of this institution, the birthplace of public higher education in Kenya, is excellent and strong! And it is growing from strength to strength every month and every year because of our collective efforts!

 

The state of the University has never been better.  You can experience it! You can feel it and you can discern it from the positive attitude and sentiments of our stakeholders. The number of people and corporations knocking on our doors for partnerships is overwhelming.

 

We have gone through an extraordinary experience with many of our most important indicators showing a consistent trend of improvement. This is not a miracle! We have worked for it and we have earned it! 

 

Let us give ourselves a hearty clap!

 

As I address you today in this forum, I reflect back on the journey that I have travelled together with you as your CEO. You gave me a mandate and a vision! The vision to steer this University to a transformation path. We embraced the philosophy of providing quality education, the commitment to give quality service to the community and make a mark at the global stage.

 

 

This vision was fashioned around ten strategic priorities: 

1)  Sustaining the World Class University.

2)  Strengthening the Alumni.

3)  Providing Visionary & Creative Leadership.

4)  Promoting positive Image & Competitiveness of the University.

5)  Growing the University’s Research and Innovation capacity.

6)  Expanding and modernizing Infrastructure.

7)  Fundraising, Resource Mobilization and Sustainability Strategy.

8)  Enhancement of Graduate Skills.

9)  Enriching Students Life in Campus.

10)              Enriching and enhancing Community Service, our relevance to solving societal problems.

 

Over the past four years, united and determined, we have moved these priorities forward, and that will be the focus of my address today.

 

I will highlight some key accomplishments related to each priority and then discuss new ideas for building momentum for the future. 

 

World Class University

My first priority was to ensure that the University sustains its leadership of the higher education sector by producing quality and holistic graduates in diverse fields of study. And obviously to ensure that those graduates not only meet the expectations of the market but also continue to play the important role of providing solutions to the myriad challenges bedevilling   society. 

 

To ensure quality programmes and increase the relevance of our graduates to industry most academic programmes and processes have been reviewed while new curricular have been developed.

 

We have purposively integrated ICT into teaching and learning, in-built experiential learning in our programmes, implemented all-round student mentorship by faculty, and sustained faculty training on pedagogy and Andragogy.

 

By now, everyone at the University is familiar with the words“leading with excellence.”Excellence involves our ability to sustainably fund our long-term needs and to diversify our sources of funding. That is why our comprehensive campaign is so critical to the success of the University. A significant portion of the money we raise goes toward funding our research activities and operational costs.

 

 

This has been critically important, as we have continued to show resilience while operating even under the dynamic higher education funding environment.

 

Our mission is the pursuit of academic excellence! We often talk about the “academic core,” which we understand to be the foundation of what we do, teaching and research.

 

Any house, big or small, new or old, requires a strong foundation. We know that our strength lies in the activities that are led by you, our faculty, inside and outside the lecture room. We are strengthening our foundation in a strategic and deliberate way.

 

Critical to sustaining and enhancing quality, the University has submitted itself to regular institutional quality audits by the regulator.

 

In 2016, both the Mombasa and Kisumu Campuses underwent a successful quality audits and subsequently authorized to operate.

 

In 2017 and 2018, the University further submitted to the same process and was found to have complied. Our commitment to maintaining quality standards is unwavering.

 

We have held very many first in our league. Just to mention a few:

a)  In 2018, the University hosted forums during the Global Sustainable Blue Economy Conference to learn and exchange ideas on harnessing the potential of oceans, seas, lakes and rivers to improve people’s lives. Over 16,000 participants from around the world met at the Sustainable Blue Economy Conference in Kenya to learn how to build a blue economy.

b)  This year, we co-hosted the sixth RUFORUM Biennial Conference, 2018 also known as the ‘African Higher Education Week’ that took place on 22 – 26 October 2018 with partner universities in Kenya under the Theme ‘Aligning African Universities to Accelerate Attainment of Sustainable Development Goals’.

The conference provided an opportunity for African Universities to demonstrate their capacity as knowledge centres that facilitate rural innovation to solve community problems leading to achievement of the sustainable development goals. The Conference also provided an opportunity for individuals, organizations and others to share best practices, experiences and lessons including how to best harness demographic dividends on the continent. Indeed our own Prof. Francis Gichaga, former Vice-chancellor, was recognised for his contribution to University Education in Kenya.

c)  You also recall that In May 2018, the University’s College of Engineering in collaboration with the Japan Space Agency (JAXA) successfully deployed the 1stKenyan Satellite (1KUNS-PF) from the Tsukuba Space Centre in Tokyo, Japan on May 11, 2018.

d)  On September 24, 2018, UoN won the bid to become the multi-year venue for 2019-2023  UNCTAD regional courses on key issues on the International Economic Agenda for African Economies.

e)  In 2017, the University held the inaugural Triple Helix Global Summit on Sustainable Development aimed at accelerating the implementation and realization of SDGs.

f)   In 2017, the University held the 1st all Africa post-harvest congress. The University in partnership with a consortium of Universities, Research and Development Organizations, the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries and in conjunction with the World Food Preservation Center (WFPC).

g)  In 2017, we co-hosted the WTO regional   accession conference for the Horn Of Africa. Our School of Economics was subsequently nominated to host the regional centre for capacity building in Trade negotiations and accessions.

h) In 2017, Quarter one Talent report released by Ministry of Education in July 2017 revealed that University of Nairobi graduates are the most preferred.

i)   In 2016, The Kenya Pipeline Company Ltd partnered with the University of Nairobi to host the inaugural oil and gas public lecture on 1st July 2016 at the University of Nairobi’s Taifa Hall. Over 500 delegate drawn from the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum, Chief Executives from oil companies, the Business Fraternity, KPC and University of Nairobi staff and Students from the School of Engineering and Physical Sciences participated.

The inaugural oil and gas public lecture series was held to discuss the Oil and Gas Sector in the East African Region with a focus on the Challenges and Opportunities in the sector. The second of this series was held again in Nairobi at Chandaria hall in 2018.

j)    A survey conducted by the British Council in 2016 revealed that University of Nairobi had the highest employability index in the region and that graduates from University of Nairobi are more likely to be employed than those from any other University.

 

Currently, the University is planning to establish the Museum of East African Art under its aegis and on its territory. The goal is to build a world class Museum of great artistic and educational value. The mission of the Museum will be to collect, preserve and display the wealth and genius of East African Art for the citizens of East Africa and the broader public

 

Our Alumni, Our Strength

The University of Nairobi has remained at the forefront of Kenya’s manpower development. It has the strongest alumni network in the region with over 210,000 men and women   making their contributions in Public and Private sectors worldwide.

 

Our Alumni and friends continue to support us; by giving scholarships for bright and needy students, supporting endowed chairs and financing critical research initiatives and events at the university.

More than 15 Alumni Chapters have been launched, with the most recent ones being School of Law in 2017, the dental chapter 2018, and the School of Nursing Chapter 2018.

 

As we continue to relate with our Alumni I note that there is still a large population of the Alumni who need to be actively engaged to give back to their Alma mater and play their rightful role.

 

Visionary & Creative Leadership

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

You will agree with me that the operational environment has been highly dynamic and sometimes difficult. Operating without a Council and vacant Deputy Vice Chancellors positions has been challenging.

 

The Chancellor’s tenure has been renewed. Her wide experience in institutional development as well as experience in fundraising and networking has been an invaluable asset to the University. 

 

I am happy to report that the newly formed University of Nairobi Council has been inaugurated and hit the ground running. With our vibrant and results based University Council we cannot go wrong.

Professorial appointments and promotions are on going. The new Strategic Plan 2018-2023 has been approved and operationalised. In regards to management, the vacant DVCs positions have been advertised and are soon going to be filled. All these changes are expected to improve and sustain institutional performance.

 

You will appreciate that without strong leadership and your trust in the leadership structures and culture that we have put in place, this University will not have sailed through the storms that we have encountered.

 

I believe that as we move in to the future we should put our faith and trust in the governance structures of the University and not on individuals.

 

During this period all the University governance organs have signed and implemented the Mwongozo Code of Governance, a critical building block in entrenching principles and values of public service and best practices in corporate governance.

 

We have reformed the student leadership and the dividend is permeating multiple areas within the University. Students’ matters have been addressed with care and professionalism as attested by the realignment of the Student leadership from Student Organization of Nairobi University (SONU) to University of Nairobi Student Association (UNSA) as per the Universities (amendment) Act 2016; the development of a new UNSA 2017 Constitution; and Students’ elections have been held on time and peacefully.

 

Exposing students to leadership opportunities is an important priority. We are making deliberate efforts to identify and expand opportunities to enrich students learning experience through internships, community outreach, extracurricular activities and international exchange programs.

 

Involvement of students in the coordination of university programs and activities is a very deliberate strategy of providing unique opportunities for the students to think independently, to challenge their ingenuity and make them appreciate the value of teams!

 

Our strength in corporate leadership has been recognized in two consecutive Employers of the Year Awards (EYA) in 2017 and 2018. In the year 2017 we were the second runners up overall through a competitive and rigorous evaluation process that involved more than 250 private and public companies. The evaluation is done by PriceWaterHouseCoopers (PwC).

 

Positive Image & Competitiveness of the University

 

Ladies and gentlemen,

Our brand visibility has continued to expand as result of the robust communication strategy and policies that we have put we put in place. This has impacted positively in our image and competitiveness.

 

In order to appreciate where we are today, it is also important to reflect on where we are coming from. You all recall that there was a time when nothing good about the university of Nairobi came from both mainstream media and the gutter!

 

There was a time when the agenda and the narrative about the university were set by the sponsored gutter press.

 

I wish to note that our relations with the media have improved greatly. In fact we have in the last three consecutive years received awards for the Best social learning institution in the country from the annual Social Media (SOMA) awards.

 

We are also not oblivious to the issues that some of our stakeholders continue to convey to us through the gutter press. We shall continue to engage constructively with all the stakeholders in addressing their fears and finding solutions to their problems but we shall not allow ourselves to be distracted from the course that we truly believe in.

 

We have registered favourable global rankings by reputable institutions such as webometrics, Times Higher Education and QS ranking maintaining our number one (1) position as the leading university in Sub-Saharan Africa.

 

This year we launched the customer built synergies based on our various strengths and experiences, to place UoN in a prime spot on the global map. What has emerged is a set of descriptions that we know resonates well with our strategic intent and target audience.

 

The University has not relented in its endeavor to realize a horizon of opportunities for exploiting and competing with reputable universities worldwide.

The combined impact of these forms of progress is reflected in the recent steady improvements in the University’s global ranking. On the whole, the University has maintained a leadership position nationally and regionally. Just to mention a few:

 

Webometrics: The 2014 Web Ranking of Universities placed the University of Nairobi at positions 9 in Africa and 1,167 in the world. This has since improved remarkably with the University, in 2018, ranked position 5 in Africa and 621 in the world.

 

Indeed, we are currently leading in the global visibility parameter according to Webometrics ranking.

 

The University has forged partnerships with industry for a wide host of functions.  For example:

i)     Partnership with the Nation Media Group to provide thought leadership on national discourses

ii)  Partnership with Huawei for ICT laboratories.

iii)                Collaboration with CISCO to launch Tech Incubation Program for start-ups.

iv)Partnership with United Nations Children’s Development Fund (UNICEF) in Design Thinking School; the Nairobi Innovation Week, the Africa Technology and Innovation Accelerator (AfTIA).

v)   Partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) on diplomats training, and partnership with Department of Immigration and Department of Defence.

vi)Partnership with the French Development Agency (AFD) on the construction and modernization of the School of Engineering and Science Complex.

vii)              Partnership with the Indian Government on modernization and refurbishment of the Graduate School Library.

viii)           Partnership with Tecno on the putting up of technical benches and donation of uniforms and sports kits to Basketball and Rugby teams among many others.

 

Research and Innovation

In our academic mission we identified excellence in research, Knowledge preservation and Impact. This is one of our greatest strengths.

In the past four years, the University research fund has increased from KES 3.9 billion to KES 4.5 billion, due to increased research activities by our members of staff and collaborators.

 

Through its research activities, the University has acquired 14 Patents, 5 Utility models, 4 copyrights and 36 Trademarks. Additionally, the university has commercialized nine (9) IP technologies and also applied for protection of twenty-three (23) new bean varieties.

 

Currently, the University has 142 ongoing research projects across the Colleges. Through these, the University creates knowledge that is documented and evidenced through publications in refereed scientific journals. Over the last four years, the university has produced 4,213Journal publications, 895 conference presentations and 73 books/chapters.

 

Through the enforcement of the CUE regulations in 2017, PhD students published 218 papers in peer-reviewed journals. In 2018, 260 papers have been published in the peer-reviewed journals.

 

Based on the research activities, the University has been accredited as government quality assurance and quality control agents in various areas including: Pest Control Board and the Engineering Board.

 

The College of Health Sciences is the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) Centre of Excellence for health care education and services.

The College of Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences is the Centre of Excellence for Seed Technology in Sub-Saharan Africa and a coordinating centre for East and Central Africa on environmental and agroforestry issues.

 

The College of Biological and Physical Sciences houses the Centre of excellence in Biotechnology research as well as the accredited Laboratory for East and Southern Africa for Monitoring Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) while the College of Architecture and Engineering leads in interventions on environmental hazards through the Institute of Nuclear Sciences and Technology.

 

The Institute of Development Studies from the College Humanities is leading research in various sectors of the economy including Transport, devolution and sustainable development.

 

The University currently has approximately over 300 active collaborations in various areas of interest and specialization. Some of the prime collaborations that are ongoing with the University include: collaboration with the University of Washington, Seattle USA, University of Manitoba, World Trade Organization, World Health Organization, and USAID, among others. 

The collaboration with Washington University has not only benefited the University of Nairobi but the Kenyan community as well. The collaboration has helped set up several VCT centres and has facilitated the provision of prevention, treatment and care for HIV and STD infected persons.

 

Other notable benefits from this collaboration are the Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI) programme and the UNITID Fellowship programme.

 

The University has also benefited from the collaborations with industry, for instance, collaboration with Barclays Bank of Kenya, which funds endowment in the School of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

 

It is within this period that the University received the Wangari Maathai Institute (WMI) Distinguished Chair, Prof. Kazuhiko Takeuchi. His key objective is to transform the Wangari Maathai Institute into a regionally leading, internationally recognized center for holistic environmental practices and peace building.

 

Relevant research policies have been developed and implemented. Older policies have been reviewed to ensure their relevance to the university's strategic direction. It is within this period we initiated acquisition and implementation of anti-plagiarism software for theses and dissertations before the award of degrees.

 

As part of its internationalization program, the University is a member of various international universities research networks. Some of these include:

a)  Worldwide Universities Network (WUN):  The University of Nairobi is WUN’s third African member, along with the University of Cape Town and University of Ghana. 

b)  African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA): It brings together sixteen (16) of the region’s leading universities.  The network is about expanding and enhancing significantly the quality of research done in Africa by African Researchers. 

c)  Regional Universities Forum (RUFORUM): for Capacity Building in Agriculture.

d)  Consortium for Advanced Research Training (CARTA): an Africa-led initiative to rebuild and strengthen the capacity of African universities to locally produce well-trained and skilled researchers and scholars.

I would like to share just a few examples of how we are generating knowledge and contributing to our community:

a)  In 2018, the University hosted the first University of Nairobi Research Week intended to foster discussions on research activities and findings, create a platform for presentation of academic papers and show-case innovation illustrations and foster partnerships with players in the research enterprise in various sectors. Key international conferences and other activities included:

1)   1st Annual Conference on the Status of African Women  

2)   1st Annual Architecture and Engineering Conference 2018 - under the theme “Innovative Infrastructure Development and Manufacturing towards Achieving AU Agenda 2063“.

3)   1st Annual Conference on Health –under the theme “Towards Universal Health Coverage.”

4)   1st Annual International Conference on Research and Innovation in Education - under the theme “Education Reforms: Towards Sustainable Development”

5)   1st International Annual Conference on the Role of Literature in a Global World - under the theme “Enhancing the Teaching of Critical Thinking”

6)   4th DBA-AMR Journal International Conference - under the theme, “Millennial’s, building relationship and business knowledge in the 21st Century”

7)   8th Annual Africa International Business and Management Conference - under the theme, “Should Kenya face East or West: The new realities of globalization”

8)   6th African Higher Education Week and RUFORUM Biennial Conference - Co-hosted by 85 universities across Africa, under the theme:  “Aligning African Universities to Accelerate Attainment of Africa’s Agenda 2063.”

9)   1st Annual International Interdisciplinary Conference on Africa in the Emerging World Order - Hosted by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

10)               1st Annual Science in Development Conference:  Supporting Manufacturing, Affordable Housing, Universal Healthcare and Food Security - under the theme Science, Technology and Innovation in the Acceleration of Sustainable Manufacturing, Universal Healthcare, Food security and Affordable Housing.

11)               1st Annual Victimology and Victim Support Conference- Organised by the University of Nairobi and the World Society of Victomology.   Under the theme, ‘Conceptualizing Appropriate Victimology and Victim Support for Contemporary Africa’

b)  In 2017, the University hosted the third Nairobi Innovation Week, playing her critical role as the centre of the innovation ecosystem in Kenya and Africa.

c)  In 2016, the University established and launched “Maker Space” Innovation hub with a focus on engineering works as it impacts service delivery in the health sector.

d)  In 2016, the University qualified to join Africa Research Universities Alliance (ARUA) network

e)  In 2016, the University of Nairobi’s innovation week declared a national event by H.E President Uhuru Kenyatta

f)   In 2016, the University developed and operationalized University incubation policy to guide the establishment and sustainable operation of incubation Centres in the institution thereby achieving the commercialization of technological innovations strategies and outcomes of its 2013-2018 strategic plan.

g)  In 2016, the University developed and operationalized the UoN Research uptake policy aimed at enhancing the systematic management of uptake and utilization of the outputs of research that is undertaken by our researchers with the objective of contributing to the knowledge base in the society and thus to national development.

h) In 2016, the University implemented the Intellectual Property Policy Acceptance Agreement to optimize the environment and incentives for research and creation of new knowledge.

i)   In 2016, the University developed and implemented Research Grants Management Information System (RGMIS). This system is meant to enhance grants financial management services and realize improved turn-around time in grants procurement for researchers and donors.

j)    In 2015, the University established African Dryland Institute for Sustainability (ADIS) to contribute to sustainable ecosystems and livelihood of dry land communities in Kenya and throughout Africa.

 

Expand and modernise Infrastructure

 

In addition to refurbishing the existing physical infrastructure, we have focused on their rationalized utilization and management. We opened Mombasa and Kisumu campus complexes to support our growth strategy.

Our average capital expenditure is estimated at KES 3.8b. Our total assets value has more than doubled in the same period from 101 billion in 2105 to 215 billion in 2018.

 

We have witnessed a historic period in our Public/Private Partnership.We are at an advanced stage to open the construction of modern hostels to accommodate over 5,000 students through the Public/Private Partnership.

 

Also lined up for construction through the same model is the construction of a building for innovation Centre and the construction of the University of Nairobi teaching and referral hospital to specialize on chronic diseases.

 

There are a number of capital improvements completed last three of years, these include:

 

a)     In 2018: Completion and occupancy of Phase I Wangari Maathai Campus

b)     In 2017:The UoN Towers was completed and occupied.

c)      2017: We commenced the construction of the UoN Confucius Institute to enhance the collaborative link between University of Nairobi and Tianjin Normal University to train Kenyan professionals in Chinese language and culture. This facility will be commissioned early next year 2019.

d)     2016: The University of Nairobi secured a grant of US$ 1 million provided by the Government of India for the renovation/refurbishment of the Mahatma Gandhi Graduate Library into a State-of-the-art Graduate Library. On completion, it will be the most resourced graduate library in East Africa.

e)     2016: Sourced for President’s support to  tarmac of 3km of Kapenguria Road and reverting of 67 acres of Land to UoN from Ministry of Agriculture.

f)       2016: Explored PPP and debt financing for capital development projects including Students Hostels Project, Engineering and Science Complex, SACE Dairy Project, Wangari Maathai Institute, University of Nairobi Teaching Hospital and Kibwezi Irrigation Project. The students hostel project entails construction of student hostels to accommodate approximately 10,000 undergraduate students at 5.7 acres in Mamlaka and 5,000 postgraduate, international students and visiting scholars’ studio apartments on 3.7 acres along Harry Thuku road between Hotel Boulevard and Norfolk Towers.  IFC has been requested to finance the project fully at a cost of Kshs 6.7b and is currently seeking approval for funding from World Bank.

 

Fundraising, Resource Mobilization and Sustainability

 

Ladies and Gentlemen

It is evident that the total revenue has been on a downward trend since FY 2013/14. With the drop in government capitation precipitated by gradual policy shift in funding of public universities coupled with the reduction in Module II enrolment, the downward trend in revenues is bound to continue.

 

Increasing payroll due to higher negotiated CBAs has and will continue to exacerbate this. The University therefore needs to mobilize resources from other sources to fund specific strategic initiatives, such as capital projects and other large projects.

 

As part of the University’s sustainability strategy, we have instituted various austerity and cost cutting measures as steps towards lowering budget deficits.

Rationalization of staff and implementation of staff workload report will form some of these measures. We have to do more with less.

 

We must find new sources of revenue through fundraising.

 

 

Ladies and Gentlemen

Fundraising is not just about writing proposals or collecting money. It is about winning hearts and minds. It is about building a constituency of supporters for a cause they believe in.

It is about learning to communicate effectively with the public and developing a network of enthusiastic and committed stakeholders.

 

In 2015 we established the Directorate of University Advancement (DUA) to lead an integrated and collaborative effort in developing, communicating and enhancing the University’s image and academic reputation; build and nurture relationships with constituents; and secure philanthropic investment in the University’s strategic goals, its programs and students.

 

We have taken this responsibility seriously and I am elated to just mention a few success stories:

a)     2018: University of Nairobi, Beijing Jiaotong University and Kenya Railways Corporation signed an MoU worth US$ 30 million through China Aid Grant during the China Africa Forum held in Beijing on 3-4 Sep 2018 for development of Kenya Railway college to train skilled manpower for SGR in the level of technicians, engineers, managers and researchers. Currently over 120 students are being trained in Jiaotong University in Beijing.

b)     In 2018: UoN signed an MoU with Guangzhou Cherami China Africa Investment Management CO. Ltd.  to establish a Cancer Research Institute in Nairobi. When established, it will be a hub for cancer teaching, diagnosis and treatment centre in Sub Saharan Africa.  The proposed centre will work in conjunction with National Cancer Institute (NCI) to develop a comprehensive National Cancer Registry.

c)      In 2018: It has been desire of the University of Nairobi to have its own Teaching & Research Hospital outside Kenyatta National Hospital. In 2018, the University entered into an MoU with Cherami Group of China to develop a Teaching Hospital by establishing a Cancer Diagnostic & Treatment Centre and related facilities at the Dental School.

d)     2016:Sourced for support for UoN Nairobi Innovation Week (NIW)- President declared budgetary support of Kshs. 100m to NIW per year

e)     2016: Enhanced engagement with the larger community through initiatives such as the Stars for Africa, Mahatma Gandhi, Eminent personalities and Safaricom Blaze.  This engagement has helped increase the amount of annual donor contributions.

f)       2016: Established fundraising for appropriate endowment funds including Stars for Africa Endowment Fund for bright and needy students, University of Nairobi Foundation, Software for Fundraising, Networking and Collaboration and King Baudouin Foundation of USA Diaspora Account.

g)     2016:Sourced for ICCR Endowment Chair (fully funded by Government of India)

 

Graduate Skills Enhancement

We recently announced an exciting collaboration with the Government and other key stakeholders to bring more learning technologies into classrooms and offer soft skills training for students, faculty staff and members of the greater community.

 

The number of graduate enrolment has continued to grow exponentially from 20% to 48% of the student population. Remarkably, the number of PhDs has now reached an average 150 per year. So far we have graduated 46,378 graduates in Masters and PhDs.

 

In the last five years we have graduated 2 Doctor of Science degrees. In the history of the University we have only produced 5 of these distinguished scholars.

The profile of our graduates list reads like who is who in Kenya?

 

We have revised all common regulations of the postgraduate diplomas, masters, doctor of philosophy and higher doctorate degrees to align them to both CUE and the University of Nairobi requirements.

 

To enhance graduate skills thus far, the University has:

a)     The African Development Bank (AfDB) in September 2018 selected UoN as one of the five universities in Kenya, which will host the African Development Bank’s premier innovation and ICT Centre of Excellence. This is a prestigious opportunity to collaborate with the Bank -as one of the few- to lead a revolutionary movement to nurture "Africa's next generation of digitally enabled workforce". The University is currently awaiting funding for this project to roll it out.

b)     In 2018: We established the Office of Career Services (OCS) to empower students to make right career choices by offering academic advise, career and counselling services and graduate tracker services. The office will facilitate linkages between the industry and students, intra-institutional exchanges, apprenticeship services and engage recruitment of prospective high school students, among others.

c)      This year we Launched Ajira Digital Club, the premier online jobs platform that will unlock thousands of job for the youth. The Cabinet Secretary, ICT Hon. Joe Mucheru launched the Ajira Digital Club, Mobile Kazi Connect Centre and Ajira Training Centre.

d)     In 2018: The Chancellor and the University of Nairobi fraternity convened a two day Inaugural Chancellor’s Career Fair on August 13 – 14, 2018 at the University’s Main campus. The chancellor’s career Fair opened wide opportunities for collaborations and partnerships with the Government and Industry that will in future guide and nurture students and graduates towards a better and more fulfilling future. This will positively impact on the socioeconomic growth of Kenya.

You recall that the Career Fair was structured to include Roundtable Discussions between the academia, Industry players and the government. There were Panel Discussions and showcasing of products through Exhibitions. They conducted job Recruitment Drives for our student and about 100 graduates secured either long term or short employments.

Keynote Presentations and training Sessions to inspire and mentor students.

 The training and mentorship of students by industry partners revolved around key areas of the job market as well as on entrepreneurship and covered topics such as Branding for Employment, Cyber Security, Talent and Image Management, Technology Trends, Skills for Tomorrow, Tech Skills Gap, Creativity and Innovations and Business Models among others.

Emerging areas of potential collaboration with the Industry partners include Industrial Research, Commercialization of Intellectual Property, Infrastructure Development, Space technology, Blue Economy, Cyber Security, Artificial Intelligence, Human Resource Training and Transfer, Retooling Industry employees and Adjunct lecturers and students.

To realize this, UoN will host the Chancellor’s Career Fair Biannually.

e)     In 2018: UoN and Huawei entered into an MoU to offer skilled ICT training to UoN students and staff. The Huawei Certified Network Associate Training, being the first training in a series of planned trainings took place from 5th – 30th November 2018 at UoN and over 20 students and staff were trained. 

f)       2017: Launched the Executive Development Programmes aimed at equipping executive managers with practical leadership skills to help them steer their organizations to greater successes.

g)     2016: Operationalized the postgraduate student tracking system to enable the Graduate school to maintain an accurate and easily retrievable record of the progress of each postgraduate student and keep track of the students’ contact with their supervisors through easily retrievable records of submitted progress reports

h)     2016: Joined Africa Research Universities Alliance (ARUA) network to enhance research and graduate training through collaborations

i)       2015: Established CEPA to train academic staff on the development of academic programmes and establish sustained faculty training on pedagogy and andragogy. The Centre on an annual basis trains at least 100 academic staff. The Centre has also identified and trained a team of trainers from the qualified human resource within the University. The Centre is also focused on developing its own approach and methodology of pedagogies, which will be unique and branded as the University of Nairobi Approach.

j)       2015: Established Graduate school to coordinate, prioritize matters of Graduate Students and enhance the quality of our graduates.

 

 

 

 

Enrich Students Life in Campus

Our third strategic direction is enriching student experience and success. Over the past year, we have started to really drill down and better understand who our students are and how we can best support them to achieve their dreams. On this front we have:

a)     Flagged off 10 University of Nairobi students to Israel for Advanced Training in Agriculture as part of the 118 cohorts of students from Kenya in 2018.

b)     Mentored over 100 students through the University of Nairobi AIESEC by securing exchange programmes to several countries across the globe

c)      In 2018: Techno sponsored the Uno Rugby and basketball teams by offering Uniforms, Ball, Erecting benches and renovating Basketball boards at a cost of Kshs. 3 Million. Gatsby supported UoN sporting activities at a cost of Kshs. 400,000.

Techno further erected 3 Technical Benches at a cost of Kshs 3million at the UoN Sports grounds. The benches were strategically placed at the University Rugby Field. This is aimed at creating an environment that is conducive for players to rest awaiting substitution and a nice environment for the match officials.

d)     In 2017: We operationalised the UoN ODeL Campus strategy. This “campus” has 3 Faculty status units-Distance learning, e-learning and lifelong learning.

e)     We have also continued to receive students and send  ours on exchange programs

f)       In 2016: We  Approved the operationalization of a comprehensive and integrated work plan for lasting students’ security and safety

g)     2015: We  operationalized of the Centre for Self-Sponsored Programmes (CESSP) to manage students fees

h)     We continue to provide mentorship programs for our students.

 

 

 

Community Service

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The story of a great university is incomplete without illustrating how the university connects to the people! How the university impacts lives and transforms communities. Indeed, ours is a story of unyielding commitment to our noble mission of generating knowledge for sustainable development. 

a)     Over the years, the University of Nairobi has each year hosted the national World AIDS Day commemoration celebrations at the at the Chancellor's Court.  Through its networks, UoN provides sponsorship for HIV fellowship programs to enhance capacity building and management of HIV/AIDS.

b)     Annually: Every year, the University of Nairobi conducts a tree planting exercise as part of its efforts to mitigate against adverse effects of climate change and conserving the environment to.

c)      2018: Successfully re-implanted a hand of a 17-year boy that was accidentally chopped off by a chaff cutter machine.

d)     2016: Successfully separated conjoined twins. Favour and Blessing, who were born conjoined, were separated at Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) in a surgical procedure that took more than 50 medical experts and 23 hours to complete. The groundbreaking surgery of the twins, who were conjoined at the spine, was the first in Kenya.

e)     2018 Partnered with the city county of Nairobi to conduct Monthly cleaning programs and our students have made us proud by taking active role in this.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

The Challenges

Despite the achievements of the University, there are serious challenges that we have surmounted and must continue to tackle with boldness and efficiency.

Fierce competition in the sector, rapidly changing technology will continue to disrupt our business landscape, uncertainty and unpreparedness on the new curriculum are some of the strategic issues that we need to reflect on.

 

In the recent past we have experienced:

a)     Sudden and unplanned budget cuts: premised on the new formula of costing degree programmes, Differentiated Units Costs (DUC), the University suffered a sudden KSh1.7 billion budget cut.  This has immensely affected delivery of services.

b)     Inability of the exchequer to support increased wage bill negotiated through CBAs. Ultimately, this exerts a major strain in our dwindling cash flows. The University continued to experience disruptions due to frequent industrial actions, leading to the disruption of the various academic programmes.

c)      Inability to settle pension debt occasioned by 2013-2017 CBA negotiations: the outstanding statutory obligations amounting to Kshs 1.6 billion as at 30, June 2018 relates to Pension liability from salary increments occasioned by the CBA 2010-2013 and 2013-2017 awards. Funds to facilitate settlement of this have not been received from National Treasury.

d)     The effects of unsupportive internal culture: The internal culture of the University should be supportive of the university’s vision. Disagreements over opinions should help us to grow rather than derail the attainment of our vision.  We often lose some good opportunities by carrying forward disagreements that should be resolved once and forgotten.

e)     I believe Managers at all levels are expected to provide focussed leadership in implementing the University’s strategy.  This did not happen leading to the non-implementation of some planned activities. We should stop mourning forever. We should heal and move on.

 

My reflection is that:

 

Each of these milestones is terrific. Taken together, our achievements reflect a university with outstanding talent and incredible momentum. A University with a track record.

 

We shall continue to build on those milestones in the university’s new strategic plan. As you know, we are currently finalising our strategic plan for the next 5 years which I believe shall be launched very soon.

 

The plan, with a running theme ‘Leading with excellence’, will build on the lessons learned from the previous plan.  We shall put more emphasis on the following:

 

  • Making Teaching and Learning at the University of Nairobi more interesting and fufilling.
  • Enriching Students experience including early identification of their talents and career dreams and  supporting  them  to achieve their life goals.
  • Expanding our research, Innovation and Enterprise.
  • Mobilization of Resources.
  • Sustaining the University’s positive  Image and competitiveness
  • Institutinalising Good Governance, Leadership and  productive Culture.

 

I am optimistic that we are on the right path to greatness! Greatness beyond where we are!

 

There are many reasons to remain optimistic about the University’s future. We are well on a trajectory that is as ambitious as it is exciting. The University of Nairobi must remain adaptive, nimble, and responsive to shifts in demographics, approaches to pedagogy, use of emerging technologies, and vastly different social paradigms. Many of the changes we expect to happen will come from generational shifts for which we must prepare. The young people must design their thinking to learn quickly from us and propel this university to unparalleled high of development.

 

We now have an extraordinary opportunity to build on our recognized strengths while investing strategically in areas that directly address what matters most to the broader community.

 

To be successful in this next bold leap in our history, we need the talents and contributions of all our stakeholders. We need our most important partners to share our vision.

 

We must do extraordinary things that befit the great status and reputation of a world- class status that we have acquired.

We must all maximise efficiencies and resource-generation so that we can continue to make University of Nairobi an ever more-wonderful place to learn and work in.

 

We must continue to cultivate a culture that welcomes and celebrates all individuals and perspectives. Being an inclusive university is more than a goal or aspiration. It is a guiding principle, and should be infused into our day-to-day work, as well as our vision for the future.

 

We must create more opportunities for our faculty to excel and to support them with innovative programs and facilities.

 

We shall continue to forge partnerships with philanthropic community to drive the desired transformations.

 

Let me leave you with some seminal thoughts to contemplate. Like many of you, I am paying close attention to the shift in public opinion with respect to higher education and its role in society. As a sector, we certainly do not want higher education to remain stale and unable to make the bold changes necessary to respond to emerging needs and expectations.

 

I see the value of what we do more important now than ever before. So I am asking all of us, to continually think about institutional renewal and to constantly question whether we are prepared to navigate in the normal or respond better and differently to the emerging expectations from students or even an increasingly sceptical public about our role in society.

 

I want to challenge our faculty, in particular, to take teaching beyond mastering a particular discipline. Our goal is to instil in our students an appreciation for critical thinking, ethical reasoning, and to encourage them to have a deeper appreciation for intellectual honesty that values multiple perspectives before gravitating to any one in particular.

 

We must create a truly transformative experience that contributes to the character of our learners, enabling them to think independently and lead creatively as they step into the future. Let us do our part to help foster constructive attitudes and shape a future that is collegial and inclusive.

 

What the University of Nairobi does matters! What you do matters! Together, we shall continue to educate, to create knowledge, to engage our communities, and to make our world a better place.

“Education breeds Confidence

 

Confidence breeds Hope

 

Hope breeds Peace”

 

THANK YOU

 

And let me also take this moment to wish a merry Christmas and a prosperous new year 2019.

May God Bless You.

 

 

PETER M.F MBITHI, PhD, EBS

VICE-CHANCELLOR

AND

PROFESSOR OF VETERINARY SURGERY