The High Court has ordered the University of Nairobi to pay student Ksh500,000 over his delayed completion of a master’s degree.
In his ruling, Justice Weldon Korir ordered UoN to pay Paul Peter Makokha the amount as compensation for the five-year delay in his graduation.
Justice Korir said that Makokha was legitimately right in his expectation to complete his degree course within two years as indicated in his letter of admission but took five years due to delays caused the University lecturer Dr Robinson Ocharo, who was his supervisor.
“In my view, the mistreatment meted upon the petitioner by Dr Ocharo with the acquiesce of the university should attract monetary compensation. Universities should not admit students if they do not have the capacity to teach and supervise the students,” said Justice Korir.
Makokha in his case accused the lecturer of deliberately delaying his graduation saying that Dr Ocharo’s unavailability and lack of cooperation led to him graduating in 2016.
The petitioner presented SMS messages in court showing how he sought appointments with the supervisor without success.
He told the court that at times he would travel from Kakamega to Nairobi only for the supervisor to be unavailable. He said he had incurred travel expenses totalling Ksh40, 000.
The judge noted that the supervisor never responded to the petitioner’s messages or answered his calls.
The lecturer admitted that there was delay on his part adding that the petitioner was allocated another supervisor.
He further argued that the petitioner was not guaranteed that he would take exactly two years to complete his studies.
However, Justice Korir said that the lecturer’s argument had no basis as the admission letter dated August 10, 2009 clearly indicated that the masters programme was two years for students undertaking the course on full time basis such as the petitioner.
“It is also noted that the respondents (university and Dr Ocharo) have not placed any evidence before the court to show that the writing of the thesis was delayed by the petitioner. Indeed, it is evident from the material placed before the court that once the supervisor was changed the petitioner was able to quickly finalise his thesis and graduate,” said Justice Korir.