|In this study, the transformation of a Kenyan public university through marketisation and
privatisation was investigated qualitatively. By focusing on senior university administrators,
deans, department heads, union leaders, student leaders and senior scholars at Kenyatta
University the study identified the reasons for, and strategies used to achieve, marketisation
and the consequences. External factors – pressure by multilateral financial institutions and
global trends in favour of the market place and private finance in higher education – and
internal factors, including social demand for higher education alongside the government’s
budget rationalisation agenda, were the impetus for the transformation.
Strategies used in marketisation included the corporatisation of university management
through the de-politicisation of the university chancellorship, competitive recruitment of the
vice-chancellor, administrative reconfigurations involving mergers and downsizing,
registration of unions and revitalisation of student leadership and commercialisation of
learning. These developments resulted in role conflicts over various offices, insider
recruitment, administrative misalignment, loss of faculty power in governance, collective
bargaining failure and disruption of learning and institutional instability.