The Kenya Methodist University (KeMU) has closed three of its campuses and sacked over 150 employees, in what was cited as ‘dynamics affecting the e*******n sector in the entire Kenyan economy’.
The campuses affected by the closure include those in Kisii, Nyeri and Nakuru with affected students expected to be taken in by the main campus in Meru.
KeMU’s university council resolved to let go of the employees in a meeting held on Monday last week, according to the retrenchment notice issued by the administration. The university is said to be facing serious financial difficulties with student population falling and expenses keep rising.
Vice Chancellor Prof Henry Kiriamiti, in the letter to students and staff, said KeMU is undertaking a “restructuring process to enhance its effectiveness and competitiveness.”
Concerning their campuses and satellite centres, KeMU writes on its website that the university operate on a ‘niche strategy’ which enables them to offer unique, specialized and highly marketable programmes.
“We endeavour to prune unjustifiable programmes and activities, set goals to improve productivity, manage growth and develop our employees. Our main focus remains excellence, quality products and services,” states KeMu.
The institution, whose main campus is in Meru has also postponed its 17th graduation ceremony that was to be held on 22th July to 14th October 14.
KeMU has campuses in Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru, Nyeri and Kisii as well as a presence in Meru town, Maua and Marimanti. But competition has been growing especially from Mt Kenya University and more so public universities, which have lately been opening campuses in counties. Public universities has a strong appeal among prospective students.
This is the second time the university, which is owned by the Methodist Church, is restructuring. In 2015, KeMU slashed staff allowances by up to 30% due to what management cited as financial difficulties, coming just a month after firing former the Vice Chancellor, Alfred Mutema.
Another former vice-chancellor, Mutuma Mugambi, sued the university in 2012 for Ksh161 million citing failure to follow due process in terminating his contract five years earlier. He was sacked along with five senior managers in a shake-up.
KeMU was awarded its charter by former President Mwai Kibaki in 2006. Kenyan universities have been under p***e by the Commision for University E*******n (CUE) over a*********s of producing ‘half-baked’ graduates.
A report released by the commission in February indicated that a number of universities were not adhering to the ratios of full-time to part-time staff, as provided for in the Standards and Guidelines. Consequently, the commission issued a 30-day ultimatum for universities to clear the mess or face closure.