I was elected Dean of the Faculty of Arts, University of Nairobi, in December 1998. As Dean, I oversaw the launch of the Module II programme in the Faculty of Arts in 1999. Work toward the launch had in fact begun in the latter half of 1998, and I was involved in that too.
Through the development of a wide range of innovative, market-driven curricula under the Module II (Parallel) Programme, I steered the transformation of the Faculty of Arts into the country's cutting-edge player in university education. That programme opened up university-level learning opportunities for hundreds of Kenyans who had previously been shut out, and enabled many for the first time to further their education while keeping their jobs -- in other words, while at the same time continuing to earn a living.
During my watch, the Faculty's Module II revenue grew as follows, having been nil in the period running from July 1st, 1997 to June 30, 1998:
1. 1998/1999: Kshs. 12 million
2. 1999-2000: Kshs. 52 million
3. 2000/2001: Kshs 80 million
4. 2001/2002: Kshs. 105 million.
By the time I left office in late 2002, the Faculty had grossed some Kshs. 280 million in about four years of actual Module II operation. Only the Faculties of Commerce and Medicine had grossed more. Not many of Kenya's SME's could beat that.
The Faculty had in the process more than doubled the gross monthly income of about 100 lecturers involved in Module II teaching within the Faculty. It did so while saving the country millions of shillings in foreign exchange, which might have been spent by the same students if they had opted to go to foreign universities.
In so doubling lecturers’ income, Module II had great material effect on their personal lives. It rescued their household economies (in particular, a good number of cars) from ICU, as we used to say. I got some credit for that as Dean, but in reality we all made it happen with our collective effort; indeed, with our own sweat!
Those were heady days, as I recall -- certainly for me. Over time, however, one gets used to the gains (any gains, and any fruits of effort, in fact). Change -- changed circumstances, that is -- however much fought for, and however much for the better, becomes, inexorably, routine. And while routine embodies remembrance, it also tends to blur the very reasons which brought it about in the first place.
For a while there, Faculties first pushed for and then enjoyed a real devolution with respect to Module II resources -- vis-a-vis Central Administration. It seemed that we had created a way of doing things which nobody could seriously reverse. In effect, we had "CDF" before Kenya's Parliament invented CDF. Gradually, however, that window of devolved power closed (after my term), and Faculties are all the poorer for it.