Bolstering the Quality of Leadership in Kenyan Universities

The Ministry of Education in Kenya contracted ACAL Consulting to train the senior management officials of public universities on Strategic Management under the Higher Education, Science and Technology (HEST) Project.

Project Details

CLIENT: Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology

PROJECT SPONSOR: African Development Fund

DURATION: 2018-2019


The HEST project was jointly funded by the African Development Bank (ADB) and the Ministry of Education. The project was aimed towards supporting Governance and Strategic Management in all public universities. ACAL Consulting was responsible for the  development of the curriculum , course content & materials  , facilitation of training sessions and logistics At the end of the project, ACAL had trained five hundred (500) top university  managers from across the country comprising of Vice Chancellors ,Deputy Vice Chancellors, Principals and Deputy Principals of University colleges, Registrars, Finance Officers, Directors, Deans and Librarians. Forty universities were represented during the training.


The capacity and quality of leadership and management of Universities has a direct bearing on the quality delivery of University Education outcomes. University Education is of strategic value to any Nation`s growth and development. It is critically relevant now when the role of the University in the development of our society, like the rest of the continent must unravel complex life problems to ensure it becomes a developed society.

Studies and reports by the Ministry of Education (MOE) the Commission of University Education (CUE) and Webometrics Ranking of World Universities   have demonstrated that the quality of Education outcomes in Kenya is not up to scratch. At present, only five Kenyan universities are among the top 80 African institutions in the world. The share of public expenditures going to higher education has grown in recent years, from 15.5% in 2013/14 to 22.7% in 2018/19, showing a special effort by the Government of Kenya. At 11.7%, Kenya’s higher education enrolment rate is slightly higher than the regional average of 9.3% (World Bank Policy report, 2019). There is still more to be done to improve the quality and relevance of Kenya’s university education.


The objective of the training was to improve governance and management of University Education for quality, relevance and efficiency as espoused in the Kenya Vision 2030.


ACAL Consulting assembled a team of experts in the relevant subject areas who had a wide range of experience from teaching, research, consulting, and industry practice. The experts comprised of captains of industry, established scholars, government regulatory agency leaders and international consultants. A curriculum, course content, course outlines, training programmes were designed and subjected to external national and international experts and validated by the Ministry of Education, State Department of University Education and ADB.

The designed curriculum covered key subject areas which were identified through a scientific training needs assessment. The training was meant to fill the identified capacity gaps within the senior management cadre of public universities. Our  informed choice of training content was appropriate and gave insight into the Strategic direction that the Universities required to give a closer look in order to satisfy the demands of society and shape the type of value the University is required to deliver. Our solution also focused on the challenge of Financial Resources Mobilization, Financial Management and Reporting, and Audits as per the Kenya National Audit Office (KENAO) in Universities. The question of where to seek additional funding for a growing university profile was becoming a loud question whose answer must pre-occupy all stakeholders in the business. We introduced the concept of Land Value Capture (LVC) as a tool to be utilized by Universities to raise funds for development by utilizing idle land. The subject of  Strategic Management  was meant to provide  an orientation of management that would glue all competitive forces for the success of the universities  now and into the future ensuring that the universities not only survive but also excel in the  growing complexity of consumers of services. Understanding how strategy worked was to underpin how success would be built in the Kenyan universities.

 Additionally, our advisory solutions  focused on Corporate Governance encompassing sensitization on Universities Act No. 42, 2012 and Policy Framework for Education and Training - Reforming Education and Training in Kenya (Sessional Paper No. 14, 2012); Government of Kenya (GoK) Public Procurement and Disposal Act and Procurement Regulations; Roles of University Governing Bodies and Overview of 2010 Kenyan Constitution with reference to university education. Finally, Transformational leadership was delivered as the last topic in plenary sessions to consolidate and reflect all other areas of training as a take home executive summary with a catalogue of action areas. An executive brief prepared by Vice Chancellors during the training was shared with the Cabinet Secretary for Education on other worthwhile interventions that the government needed to make in enhancing the quality of University Education in Kenya.

To ensure optimal delivery and achievement of training objectives and outcomes, good practices in execution of Executive Leadership Training were adopted. The sessions were organized into groups of fifty (50) delegates to ensure maximum contact with the facilitators. Each Session lasted three (3) days constituting twenty-four (24) contact hours. It also included use of relevant training aids and a mix of instructional methods which included, lecturing in classroom set up, case studies, discovery methods, role plays, group work/discussion and continuous assessment through quizzes. All the sessions were independently evaluated by the delegates to provide feedback and determine extent of achievement of training objectives.


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