Universal Journal of Educational Research Vol. 5(11), pp. 1869 - 1877
DOI: 10.13189/ujer.2017.051103
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Tracking Environmental Sustainability Performance of Public Universities in Kenya


David N. Mungai *
Wangari Maathai Institute for Peace and Environmental Studies, College of Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences, University of Nairobi, Kenya

ABSTRACT

Environmental Sustainability Performance Contract (PC) targets were introduced in the 2012/13 financial year as part of the broader public sector reforms and a strategy for performance improvement in the public service that includes Kenyan public universities. However, no evaluation has been conducted to assess performance improvement and impact. The objectives of this study were to; assess the PC targets reporting by public universities in Kenya; assess the authenticity of reporting; establish key challenges in mainstreaming environmental sustainability recommendations; develop an indicative list of environmental sustainability indicators for universities and, compile resources to guide the universities during implementation of environmental sustainability activities and reporting. Data and information were obtained from quarterly reports submitted to the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) for the 2012/15 period. Proposed indicators were developed from the NEMA guidelines, published sources and online "best practices". Reporting trends revealed an average response rate of 60.2%. The choice of targets was variable, with most universities opting for "soft targets". The top four preferred targets were tree planting (72.7%), developing environmental policy and creating environmental awareness programs (63.6% each), and working with stakeholders to protect and conserve the environment (45.4%). The Vice-Chancellors signed the quarterly reports, confirming authenticity and process ownership. There was no evidence of progressive improvements. Intervention impacts could not be ascertained due to lack of baselines. Key challenges encountered included lack of baseline data and clear implementation strategies, ineffective environmental sustainability committees, inadequate resource allocation for prescribed activities and lack of information and guidelines. Indicators and indicative measurable variables are proposed. Useful resources to assist in the implementation of the PC targets are provided. We recommend expansion of the scope of the environmental sustainability PC targets to address the post-2015 global sustainability agenda by aligning them with the Sustainable Development Goals. Private Universities should be also asked to participate in the environmental sustainability performance contracting with the government.

KEYWORDS
Performance Contracting, Campus Sustainability, Sustainability Indicators, Sustainable Development

Cite this paper
David N. Mungai . "Tracking Environmental Sustainability Performance of Public Universities in Kenya." Universal Journal of Educational Research 5.11 (2017) 1869 - 1877. doi: 10.13189/ujer.2017.051103.