It is a time to celebrate. The University of Nairobi marks 50 years since it was transformed into the first national University in Kenya on July 1, 1970. The University of Nairobi owes its origin to several developments in higher education within the country and the region. The idea of an institution for higher learning in Kenya goes back to 1947 when the Kenya Government drew up a plan for the establishment of a technical and commercial institute in Nairobi. By 1949, this plan had grown into an East African concept aimed at providing higher technical education for the region. In September 1951, a Royal Charter was issued to the Royal Technical College of East Africa and the foundation stone of the college was laid in April 1952. During the same period, the Asian Community of East Africa was also planning to build a College for Arts, Science and Commerce as a living memorial to Mahatma Gandhi.
To avoid duplication of efforts, Gandhi Memorial Academy Society agreed to merge interests with those of the East African Governments. Thus, the Gandhi Memorial Academy was incorporated into the Royal Technical College of East Africa in April 1954, and the college proceeded to open its doors to the first intake of students in April 1956. Soon after the arrival of students at the college, the pattern of higher education in East Africa came under scrutiny. Through the recommendation of a working party formed in 1958, chaired by the Vice-Chancellor of the University of London, Sir John Lockwood, the Royal Technical College of East Africa was transformed. On June 25, 1961, the College became the second University College in East Africa, under the name Royal College Nairobi. The Royal College Nairobi was renamed University College, Nairobi on May 20, 1964. On the attainment of "University College" status, the institution prepared students for bachelor's degrees awarded by the University of London, while also continuing to offer college diploma programmes.
The University College Nairobi provided educational opportunities in this capacity until 1966 when it began preparing students exclusively for degrees of the University of East Africa, with the exception of the Department of Domestic Science. With effect from July 1, 1970, the University of East Africa was dissolved and the three East African countries set up their national Universities. This development saw the birth of the University of Nairobi set up by an Act of Parliament. Since 1970, the University of Nairobi has seen many innovations, which have contributed to its development and that of the nation. It has grown from a faculty based university serving a student population of 2,768 to a college focused university serving over 84,000, currently.
Mombasa Campus is one of the fastest growing satellite campuses of the University of Nairobi. It is currently home to programmes from three schools and one Faculty: School of Continuing and Distance Education (SOCDE), School of Business (SOB), School of Law (SOL) and Faculty of Arts (FOA).
School of Continuing and Distance Education (SOCDE)
The Mombasa Campus has a history dating back to the time when The Mombasa Extra Mural Centre was established in 1987 and was located at Jubilee Insurance Building. Then, it was known as The Institute of Adult Education and was established to offer learner support services to the Bachelor of Education students through distance learning mode and Extra Mural Studies. It has grown and is now offering certificate and diploma courses in business administration as well as undergraduate and graduate programmes in Education and in Project Planning and Management. The enrollment in the programmes stand at 1024 in the Mombasa location and 82 in Malindi which is a sub-center of the Mombasa EMC.
The pioneer coordinator was the late Dr. Magdalene Juma who was succeeded by Christopher Gakuo. Currently the Coordinator of the School of Continuing and Distance Education is Mr. Johnbosco Kisimbii.
School of Business:
In the year 2004 the School of Business opened its first satellite campus in Mombasa to offer the Bachelor of Commerce and Master of Business Administration degree courses. The first batch of students numbering about 175 started their classes in November 2005.
Since inception, the School has graduated 233 students with Bachelor of Commerce degree and 206 with Master of Business Administration. A further 110 MBA and 75 B.Com students are expected to graduate later this year 2013. There are 1145 and 1189 continuing students for B.Com and MBA respectively at various levels of completion from first to fourth year. The School offers two study modes for the B.Com programme - during the day from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. week days and in the evening from 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. (week days) and 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Saturday. The MBA is only offered in the evening. The day mode of study gives an opportunity to students to utilize their time more effectively depending on their commitments. In any semester, the students are free to register for courses from either of the two modes of study.
The School has a strong staff compliment consisting of professors, senior lecturers and lecturers airlifted from Nairobi to support the 8 permanent staffs based in Mombasa. The School in consultation with stakeholders is planning to introduce more market oriented programmes for this location especially in the area of maritime and logistics management.
The School has had two Coordinators (who also served as overall Campus Coordinators) since inception. Mr. Cyrus Iraya from 2005 to 2011 and Dr. Jackson Maalu from 2012 to present. Owing to the growth in student numbers, the School appointed Mr. Job Mwanyota to the position of Assistant Coordinator to support the management of the School academic activities.
School of Law:
The School of Law opened its doors to the first batch of students to undertake the Bachelor of Law degree course at the campus in the year 2008 with Wamuti Ndegwa as the Programme Coordinator. Since then, the School has graduated 50 students with Bachelor of Laws degree with a further 52 having completed the programme and awaiting graduation later this year 2013. Currently there are 356 continuing students at various levels of completion from first to fourth year. The academic staff compliment currently stands at 13 with 2 support staff. Plans are underway to introduce the Master of Laws Programme in the near future.
The staff from the School of Law – Mombasa is actively involved in legal knowledge dissemination and community service such as being resource persons in the Advocacy Training Programme as well as being involved in National assignments including Commission of Inquiry into the Tana Clashes where Mr.Wamuti Ndegwa is the Commission Secretary.
The School has had two Coordinators Mr. Wamuti Ndegwa and currently Dr. Sarah Kinyanjui.
Faculty of Arts:
The FOA programmes started in Mombasa in the May 2013 and the current student enrollment stand at 30. The Faculty offers a Bachelor of Arts degree programme with four specializations in Sociology, Psychology, Political Science & Public Administration, Language & Communication. The programme is offered from 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. week days and from 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. on Saturdays.
The Campus has state of the art facilities at Uni Plaza off Moi Avenue, housing a modern library with reading and research materials in both electronic and print form, two computer labs for undergraduate and postgraduate students with a capacity of over eighty users in any one sitting, a moot court and lecture rooms tailored to accommodate various class sizes from 50 to 150 students. The School of Business has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Kenya Ports Authority to access additional lecture and library facilities at their Bandari College campus. It is in this location that most of the evening lectures for B.Com and MBA take place. Besides the teaching facilities, the Campus provides students and staff support services which include security, clinic and maintenance.
Since establishment, the Campus has had three Overall Directors.
Prof. Cyrus M. Iraya - 2005 to 2011
Prof. Jackson Maalu – 2012 to 2016
Dr. Sarah Kinyanjui - 2016 to present