Bahati Huruma contracted polio in his childhood, which crippled him and affected his mobility. His father, Professor Chache Moja is the vice chancellor of Akara University and hails from Onema community; one of the minority ethnic groups that is widely believed to have suffered marginalisation during the colonial period and to continue to do so in the post-colonial Kenya.
Huruma has vowed to study medicine at the university and to help in advancing body of knowledge about polio so that other children do not end up in a similar situation like him. However, his father Professor Chache Moja believes that his limited mobility will mean that he would not manage the course and would not be an effective doctor. He instead advises his son to consider pursuing a law degree.
Huruma studied in one of the elite private academies in the city and sat for his secondary school leaving examinations last year. During placement by Universities Joint Admissions Board (UJAB), Huruma missed the cut-off points for Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery degree just by one point. The UJAB placed him in Bachelor of Science in Public Health degree course at the Akara University.
Akara University academic regulations allows students to change their courses after placement by UJAB upon admission to the university provided that they have met the UJAB cut-off points for their desired courses. The regulations also give a dispensation of one point below the required cut off points for the respective courses to the prospective students with disabilities as well as those from marginalised and minority ethnic groups.
Huruma has appealed to the university senate through the Academic Board and Dean of the School of Health Sciences to be permitted to change his course from Bachelor of Science in Public Health to Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery. The Dean of the School, Professor Tibu Marembo, tenure will be expiring after the next nine months. Renewal of her tenure is dependent upon her evaluation by the vice chancellor, Professor Chache Moja, and the recommendations that he makes to the university council.
This is a complex story - so it is important to encourage people to identify what they see as the key issues.
The regulations of the University allow those deciding on applications from those with disabilities wishing to change course to dispense candidates up to one point from the standard UJAB cut-off. Does that mean that they should admit all such candidates? What considerations do people think ought to help them to decide who might be allowed to change course (in general) and, in particular, who might be allowed to change to study medicine?
What do people think will happen in this case? How will the case be decided in their view?
How do they think it should be decided:
That might be a question about what the outcome should be. But it might also be a question about what would be the right things to take into account in this case. And what kinds of considerations would it be inappropriate to bring into play - if the scenario was the same, except that Huruma was female, should that affect things? What if Huruma was part of the country's dominant ethnic group? Should that change matters?
In this situation, what do you think the responsibilities of the Vice Chancellor are? Should he speak his mind? Should he discuss the matter at all with his offices? Again, it is worth separating what people think the Vice Chancellor is likely to do, from what you think his office entitles him to do, and what that office obliges him to do.
What are the responsibilities of the Dean, Professor Tibu Marembo, in this situation. Whose iinterests and concerns are to be weighted most heavily: Huruma's, Professor Chache Moja's, his own, the interests of the university (and what might those be?), the wider public interest? What do people think the Dean will do. What do they think it is the Dean's responsibility to do?
i. Should Professor Tibu Marembo participate in any deliberations or recommendations concerning Huruma’s appeal?
ii. Should Professor Chache Moja be involved in any decisions concerning the appeal?