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Cash strapped Catholic Varsity closes campuses

By Staff Writer.

Cash strapped Catholic University of East Africa (CUEA) which lately has lost over Sh400 million through leakages of funds has started shutting down campuses countrywide.
Poor management decisions and leakage of funds by former officials of CUEA have left the 33-year-old institution in a precarious financial position, leading to the immediate closure of campuses in Kisumu and Nairobi.
The Vice Chancellor, Prof Justus Mbae (pictured) announced the closure of the campuses, hence, CUEA joining the growing list of institutions that are closing campuses and other satellite units due to tough regulations introduced early this year.
The Vice Chancellor in a communiqué (JGM/1g/038/2017) dated October 17th, 2017 addressed to students, lecturers, Non-Teaching Staff and other stakeholders said the actual closure of the campuses will take effect in January 2018.
“We must hasten to add that this decision has been arrived at after careful consideration of the effect it will have on the students and staff particularly, and all those concerned.
“We take this opportunity to inform the students, staff, parents, guardians, benefactors, suppliers and stakeholders that following this development, necessary arrangements are being undertaken for a smooth transition.
“We have also notified the Commission for University Education (CUE) on the intended closure of these campuses,” said Mbae.
The Vice Chancellor said that as the Varsity continues implementing the closures, CUEA wishes to invite students, staff, parents/guardians, benefactors and other stakeholders to share with the university suggestions and recommendations on matters that affect them following the campuses closure. “Your suggestions could be channelled through the respective Campus directors.
“Much as we are all saddened by the development, l would like to assure all our students and stakeholders that the modalities put in place will enable all students to complete their studies in the most equitable manner without compromising quality,” said the Vice Chancellor.
For the better part of 2016 and 2017, CUEA has been struggling to pay its bills as its new administrators try to pull the Catholic Church-sponsored institution out of a financial hell-hole to save education/training of an estimated 10,000 students.
With hundreds of millions of shillings owed to workers, suppliers and creditors, impeccable sources at CUEA revealed that the staff and students have all along been worried about the fate of the institution that has long been admired for its quality of education/training.
Late last year up to early 2017 over 100 part-time lecturers at the Main Campus went on a go-slow as the university failed to honour an agreement it made with them in May 2016 to pay them Shs30,000 every fortnight until all their arrears are cleared.
The situation made it challenging for the university to administer end of semester exams as some lecturers refused to invigilate until all their monies are paid. Part-time lecturers are paid Shs1, 500 per hour to teach undergraduate students, and Shs2, 000 per hour to teach those studying for Masters and Doctorate degrees. The university has about 50 permanent lecturers at the Main Campus.
During the audit done by Deloitte and Touche, and Adept Systems, it was discovered that the university was losing close to Sh50 million per semester. With at least 10,000 students in three campuses who pay an average of Sh70, 000 per semester, it means the university was losing most of the money collected in fees.
The Varsity has experienced a leakage of funds that has continued for years. Sources put the total figure of money suspected to have been lost since 2014 at Sh400 million. “Due to this professional misconduct, the university was either making payments or owed lecturers money that is not genuine,” reads part of the audit.
Impeccable sources at the University confided to Education News that over-reliance on Catholic priests over the years for most top management and administrative roles even when their credentials/capacity was in doubt could be responsible for some of the problems the university is experiencing.
It has since been established that the decision to remove senior officials of the university, including the immediate former Vice Chancellor, Monsignor Dr Pius Rutechura, a Catholic priest from Tanzania was made by the University Council which was headed by Bishop Maurice Muhatia of the Nakuru Diocese after they realised that the institution was making too many payments to part-time lecturers.

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