On May 9, 2012, President Mwai Kibaki accented to the Kenya School of Government Bill 2011, making it a law. The Kenya School of Government Act – the new law – repealed the Kenya Institute of Administration Act. The move signaled the beginning of the Kenya School of Government (KSG) as envisaged in the Vision 2030 national development blueprint.
The formation of KSG two months later on July 1 involved merging KIA and its affiliate Kenya Development Learning Centre. The merger also roped in other government training institutes located in different parts of the country. These are now campuses of KSG.
Accordingly, KSG, based in Nairobi’s Lower Kabete suburbs, has four other campuses in addition to the e—Learning Development Institute in Nairobi. They are KSG Mombasa, KSG Matuga, KSG Embu, and KSG Baringo.
The fundamental function of the Kenya School of Government is to build capacity of the public service through training and other learning programmes aimed at boosting the Work skills and knowledge of public servants. In addition KSG offers research services to help inform public policy.
A notable development in the training curricula of the institution upon its transition from KIA to KSG was the introduction of a Master of Public Administration degree, commonly referred to as MPA. The programme was launched on December 14, 2011. It has been instrumental in equipping senior public servants and government officials with superior public administration skills, seen as critical to the new national governance structure.
As directed by the Constitution, Kenya adopted a new national governance formula involving devolved units after the March 2013 general elections. KSG had by then anticipated the need for new knowledge among public servants to facilitate a smooth transition from the previous governance structure to the new form. The MPA is also open to any other persons who wish to acquire the skills necessary to serve in public service at a senior level.
The other key courses on offer at the school include strategic leadership development, senior management, secretarial management, records management, public prosecution, and ICT based ﬁnancial management and disbursement among others.
The school, which also functions as a training facility for other organisations, serves neighbouring South Sudan to train senior government personnel, such as undersecretaries.
The establishment of KSG is one of the benchmarks of the 2003-2007 Economic Recovery Strategy for Wealth and Employment Creation. Its relevance to the strategy is to intensify training of public servants as part of the plan to boost efficiency in public service. This is necessary for the establishment of a conducive environment for investment.
The school is governed by a council as its policy making organ.
The Council of the School, as it is called, gives strategic direction and is responsible for funding and the overall development of the school.
It is chaired by a presidential appointee, who must have significant experience in senior management. Other members of the council include principal secretaries of the concerned ministries, the secretary of the Commission for Higher Education (CUE), a nominee of the Public Service Commission (PSC), one person to represent universities, and another, nominated by the Kenya institute of Public Policy Research and Analysis (KIPPRA). The schools director- general, hired by the council through competitive recruitment and approved by the responsible cabinet secretary, serves as the secretary to the council. All the council members, according to the Kenya School of Government Act, must hold at least a Bachelor’s degree, with no less than five years work experience in a senior management job.
The daily running of the school is led by a board, known in full as the Academic Board of the School. It is chaired by the director— general.
The rest of the members are the directors of the other campuses, as well as those responsible for Finance and Administration, and Academic Affairs. The head of Library Services is also a member of the board. By law, the director in charge of academic affairs is the secretary to the board.
The academic board is responsible for the development, review and delivery of learning and development programmes. It also sets entry requirements for learning as well as the standards and criteria for certification.
The journey of the school to its present status started in 1961, When the leans School , a teacher and later clerical training establishment created in 1924, was converted to KIA to begin training for jobs in public servants as independence approached.
By 2011 as the institute marked its 50th anniversary, it had grown to become the key learning centre for public administration. The celebrations of the Golden Jubilee involved the unveiling of a Kshs290-million tuition and conference block named Habel Nyamu Centre, after the principal who served from 1971 to 1982.
KIA (now KSG) heads
Eric Gordon (1961-1964)
As the first principal of the Government school, Eric Gordon, an expatriate, led the establishment of the ﬁrst training structure at KIA, comprising ﬁve departments, namely Public Administration;
Local Government; Cooperative Training; Executive Training; and Community Development Training.
Before being appointed principal, Gordon had been one of the two district officers to be transferred to the newly created institute to teach English language, geography, government organisation and security.
While the training under these departments was to prepare Africans to assume senior government jobs as independence became imminent, and indeed the reason KIA was established, one of the first trainees, Josephat Mutugi, would later doubt if the British government was committed to the idea.
According to him, the training was evidently structured to train junior officers to the British officials.
In these ﬁrst three years, KIA trained I43 administrative personnel. By July 1964, 426 executive officers had been trained. By the end of 1964, the institute had trained 30 local government officers, 379 community development officers and 313 cooperative personnel.
Alan Simmance (1964-1966)
He was the second principal and the last of expatriate to head KIA.
By the time he took over, KIA had a total of 35 staff members. Twenty-seven of these Were trainers, out of which 12 were expatriates hired directly from the UK, ﬁve other expatriates of Asian descent, and seven and three local Asians, respectively.
It became apparent in 1964 that the spirit behind the formation of KIA, which had been to train for Africanisation of the Civil Service, had been short – sighted. Questions started being raised over the continued relevance of the institute after the training of Africans to take over senior government jobs. There were suggestions that the school be shut down, unless a new role could be deﬁned for it. Alan Simmance made propositions on how the institute could remain relevant.
His overall view was that training and retraining was a continuous process, not necessarily for Africanisation as initially designed, but to enhance the skills of public servants as circumstances necessitated. The Government bought the idea, and it can be said that Simmance’s suggestions are responsible for the existence of the school to date, for they led to the establishment of what came to be known as the Adu Review Committee, which indeed recommended that KIA be redesigned and expanded as the Government’s main training facility. The journey of KIA’s growth to its present state had begun.
Joseph Elijah Kariuki (1966-1969)
It was during his time that an idea that had been proposed in 1963 by Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Tom Mboya, to train lay magistrates, was implemented.
Prior to that, district commissioners and district offices performed the roles of magistrates at African Courts (exclusively for Africans) using African customary laws. The training of lay magistrates was not only meant to relieve administrative officers of judicial functions, but also to professionalise court matters. The syllabus of the one—year training was developed jointly by KIA and the High Court. The course was stopped in 1973 when it was decided that only professionally trained legal personnel would be eligible to become magistrates.
Charles Gatere Maina (1969-19171)
KIA was instrumental in the formation of the Kenya Accountants and Secretaries National Examination Board (KASNEB), which started its operations on July 24, 1969, from an ofﬁce at the institute. Maina was the principal then. His deputy, Stanley Nyagah, was named the honorary secretary of KASNEB. The formation of KASNEB followed a seminar hosted by KIA in April 1968, during which participants recommended its establishment in order to localize accounting examinations, then handled by foreign (UK) bodies.
KASNEB introduced Certiﬁed Public Accountants (CPA) and Certiﬁed Public Secretaries (CPS) and KIA started recruiting students for the courses. They became popular and attracted students from as far as Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland and Namibia. In his time, Maina initiated the formation of a committee to review training curriculum in line with a ﬁve -year review cycle that had been earlier proposed but not implemented. His action led to the formation of the Wamalwa Committee of Review in April 1970, but which became operational in 1971 with him as the secretary to the committee, under the leadership of William Wamalwa, then chairman of the Public Service Commission.
Habel John Nyamu (1971-1982)
Unlike his predecessors who served as KIA principal for between two and three years, Nyamu stayed at the helm of the Government training institution for 11 years, making him the longest serving principal so far.
The first graduation ceremony for the popular CPA and CPS courses in September 1973 was held during his tenure. The recommendations of the Wamalwa committee in 1972 came during his time. The committee proposed the following instructional departments at KIA: Administration to provide part-time executive training; Accountancy to offer CPA and CPS courses, Social Development; Languages and Communication; and Law to train district magistrates and offer legal training to other departments.
However, while the recommendations were generally accepted, their execution was not adequately undertaken due to capacity issues at the institute. Generally, training continued under the old programmes. Eventually, no solid reforms had taken place by 1977.
Concerned about this and the degenerating performance of the public service then, Nyamu asked the Government to reorganise the institute as a national training centre.
A leaders’ conference in January 1978 at KIA themed The Kenya We Want emphasised the need to raise the performance of public service. It approved the proposal for a review of KIA as the main training centre for public servants, so that it may help restore discipline, integrity and commitment in public service.
The Second Wamalwa Committee was formed in March 1978. It presented elaborate recommendations touching on almost every aspect of KIA, including training, physical facilities, staffing, and the institute’s future role. Nyamu, who believed in good performance, would later state in 2007: “Employment in the public service must at all times be associated with some kind of achievement. Without that achievement, it translates to squandering public or corporate resources and must logically be terminated…” Nyamu’s contribution to the reorientation of KIA was last year celebrated in the naming of a new tuition block at the institution, the Habel Nyamu Centre, after him.
James Kariuki Gichangi (1981-1985)
His term as the head of KIA was marred by politics and an attempt to have the University of Nairobi take over the institute. The Government hostility against KIA started after the 1982 coup attempt against President Daniel arap Moi, and particularly after a lecturer asked a class of police officers attending training there, what they would have done had any of them been the police commissioner at the time of the attempted coup. Being a time when government spy agents were everywhere, the lecturer was picked up soon after the lesson and detained. The Kenya Police stopped sending officers for training at the institute.
Also, the continuous training philosophy that had started off well was stopped. The reduced activity at the institute led to the termination of courses like CPA and CPS in 1983. Talk about having KIA converted to a university began.
Joseph David Kimura (1985-1991) Later when the Government Was faced with the need to expand university education, KIA Was among the Government schools proposed as possible facilities for take—over by the University of Nairobi, then under Prof Philip Mbithi. He and Education Minister Peter Oloo Aringo reportedly supported that take-over bid. Being closer to the powers that be at the time, they dominated a meeting between them and their delegation on one side and KIA team led by the Director of Personnel Management B.E. Mwangi and principal I .D. Kimura, on the other side.
The KIA team had no much choice but to let a portion of KIA to be used by the University of Nairobi. This was despite then chief secretary Simeon Nyachae’s advice to President Moi that taking over KIA would be unwise, given the importance of the institute to governance matters.
In 1988, the Government went ahead and hived off a portion of KIA and made it the Faculty of Commerce of the University of Nairobi. Nyachae had retired a year earlier.
However, three months later in December 1988, the decision was found to be untenable and reversed, partly owing to a clash in the sharing of the common facilities such as the dining hall and hostels between students of KIA and UoN.
Stephen Marie Karigithe (1991- 1993)
The attempt to have KIA taken over by the University of Nairobi may have failed, but the Government had gone ahead and hived off a good portion of the facility for use by the university. Mr. Karigithe’s short period as the principal was largely spent on work meant to return the beaten KIA on a growth path. The previous administration of the institute had lobbied for funding from the Government to build a kitchen and dining hall, the earlier ones having been taken by UoN. The Government had agreed to commit Kshs5O million for the construction, but the money was never released. It would appear that the pressure to hold the ﬁrst multi—party elections shifted focus and all attention was directed at the general elections, which were held in I992.
Titus Kahiga Gateere, 1993-2005
Gateere is remembered as the period When KIA embarked on a spirited journey to reclaim the ground it had lost to political interference.
“He cultivated and enjoyed support from the staff, his permanent secretary, the head of public service, and KIA Council until his retirement in 2005,” reports the September – December 2011 edition of The Newslink, a publication of KIA. In 1996, Mr. Gatere ceased being principal and became the ﬁrst director general, the new designation for the head of the institute. It was in that year that KIA Act was passed, giving it a fresh mandate that went beyond training to encompass consultancy and research. The Act deﬁned KIA as a management development institute (MDI).
Gateere went on to chair the Public Service Commission until 2012.
Margaret Kobia (2005 – 2013)
Prof Kobia’s leadership saw continued growth of the institute, both in terms of quality of service and expansion of infrastructure. In 2006, KIA ranked 13 out of 116 state corporations assessed under the performance contracting scheme. It was thus rated as “Very Good” and maintained the consistency. When in 2007 Kenya got the UN Public Service Award for accountability, transparency, and responsiveness in public service, KIA basked in that glory owing to its contribution to the improved public service through training.
In 2008, KIA unveiled an administration centre as well as a conference centre. With the latter, it was able to host the African Association for Public Administration and Management Roundtable in 2009. The conference, organised by the Government, brought together 322 delegates, including those from other African countries and the US.
It was in 2009 that KIA also opened a Leadership Resource Centre equipped with material in both print and electronic formats as the institute took steps to align itself with emerging technology.
Among the infrastructure established under Prof Kobia’s watch include a new tuition block named Habel Nyamu Centre, unveiled during the institute’s Golden Jubilee in 2011, and a power generator in 2009. In 2011, the institute started a Master in Public Administration (MPA) course. The course is offered in collaboration with the University of Nairobi.
Prof Kobia, a human resource education scholar and an associate professor of management, was in January 2013 appointed the chairperson of the Public Service Commission.
Elijah K. Wachira (2013-Present)
A deputy director of Learning and Development Division, Elijah K. Wachira is the acting director general. A management of information systems professional, he holds a BSc and an MBA from the University of Nairobi, and a diploma in systems analysis and design from Scotland.