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Prof Magoha: Indecisive bulldozer?

His management style has been criticised, right from his vetting.

In Summary

• Magoha's record as a no-nonsense education administrator saw him appointed as Knec chairman in 2016 prior to being nominated to the Cabinet.

• At Knec, Magoha was tasked with reforming the agency to put an end to widespread examination cheating. And that he did

Mechanical, bulldozer, tough-talking, indecisive and too cautious, among others, have been used to describe Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha.

Indecisive because the reopening of schools has been marred by confusion related to his press addresses, but which he passes the blame to the media.

Born in 1952 in Kisumu, Magoha, attended Dr David Livingstone Primary School, in Nairobi, and proceeded to Starehe Boys' Centre and School, where he completed his O-Level studies.

 

He attended Strathmore School for his A-Level education, graduating with a High School Diploma.

From there, Magoha was awarded a government scholarship to study human medicine at the University of Lagos, in Nigeria.

He then proceeded to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, the University College Hospital, Ibadan, both in Nigeria and the Royal Postgraduate Medical School, in United Kingdom, where he trained as a specialised urologist.

He started teaching at the University of Lagos in 1979 and returned to Kenya in 1987 as a lecturer. From 1988, the rose through the ranks and became a full professor of urological surgery in 2000,

He is now a consultant urologist and an academic administrator and a professor of surgery at the University of Nairobi's College of Health Sciences.

He is a former Vice Chancellor at the university, serving for 10 years until 2015. He was the first public servant to be competitively appointed to the position.

Prior to his appointment as VC, Professor Magoha was in early 2000 appointed chairman, dean and principal in the College of Health of Sciences and later deputy vice-chancellor at the University of Nairobi, in quick succession.

In 2005, he was appointed the vice-chancellor, having scored the highest among the applicants.

At UoN, he is credited to have transformed the institution from being rocked by student hooliganism to a leading university of higher learning in Kenya and internationally.

Magoha's record as a no-nonsense education administrator saw him appointed by President Uhuru Kenyatta as the Kenya National Examination Council chairman in 2016 prior to being nominated to the Cabinet.

At Knec, Magoha was tasked with reforming the agency to put an end to widespread examination cheating. And that he did, probably to an extent of securing himself a slot in the Cabinet in March 2019.

In his 87-page curriculum, Magoha describes himself as, “ a top-grade Professor of Urological and Transplant Surgery since 2000 at the University of Nairobi trained in Nigeria, Ghana, Ireland and United Kingdom.”

He says he is further trained in executive management at Stanford University. Administratively, he says he is a firm hands on and results-oriented transformative leader, practising professionalism, team work and team spirit rather than command and control.

His management style has, however, been criticised, right from his vetting.

Suba South MP John Mbadi asked Magoha if he is too mechanical. He said there was a lot of suppression and dictatorship during his time at UoN. But Magoha said he is “definitely not mechanical” but principled in his management style.

But he has been confusing, communicating without a stand on the ministry’s plans for the resumptions of schools.

Now that he says schools will be reopened, stakeholders are waiting to see how that will happen amidst Covid-19 threats.

Kuppet boss Akello Misori says the Professor needs to get his act together in preparation of schools for learning post-Covid.