UASU wants an to end tribalism in public universities’ management 

UASU wants an to end tribalism in public universities’ management 

The University Academic Staff Union (UASU) wants the Universities’ Act 2012 amended to give provision for the establishment of the Universities Service Commission (USC) to deal with recruitment, appointment, promotion, transfer and discipline of vice chancellors of Public Universities.

Appearing before Departmental committee on Education of the national assembly to give views on the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill, 2018, UASU National Secretary General Dr. Constantine Wasonga said the body will help bring to an end ethnicity and tribalism that has bedeviled the recruitment, appointment and promotion of universities academic staff.

“We need to have one employing body, Universities service Commission (USU), to deal recruitment, appointment, promotion, transfer and discipline so that University academic staff can be able to be transferred and work in any part of this country, the way it happens in the Teachers service Commission,” Dr. Wasonga said on Wednesday.

“These vice chancellors can be transferred but as long we have independent council, where universities are autonomous and councils are left to recruit .you will not eradicate tribalism in our universities,” he added.

Dr. Wasonga explained that it was needless to have many councils, while they can be amalgamated to have nine councils or commissioners to deal with   recruitment, appointment, promotion, transfer of university staff.

“If the University acties were merged in  2012 and formed one university act, am seeing a possibility these councils being merged into one,”

“Initially each university had its own act but now we have one university act, I want to beseech this committee, to think along establishing University service Commission, it will eradicate tribalism, nepotism and the rest”   Dr. Wasonga told Julius Melly led committee.

He held the membership of University Council, the holders of the positions of Vice Chancellor and Deputy Vice Chancellor should be carefully balanced to avoid communities holding university administration hostage to local political interests, as has happened in the past.

Earlier, Kilome MP Eng. Thaddeus Nzambia, a member of the committee had raised concerns the quality of education in higher education had deteriorated as a result of tribalism and ethnicity perpetuated in the institutions.

Mr. Nzambia advised vice chancellors should not come from the community which the institution is localized.

 “We must discourage at all costs ethnicity in our public universities as it affects the quality of leadership and management that ends up compromising the quality of education offered in our institutions of higher learning,” he reckoned.

Departmental committee on Education of the National assembly is currently seeking public views on the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill, 2018 which seeks to amend Sections 35 and 39, and the Second Schedule of the Universities’ Act 2012.

The Bill proposes that Vice Chancellors of public universities to  be appointed by the University Council in consultation with the Cabinet Secretary, after a competitive process conducted by the Public Service Commission;

According to the bill,  Vice Chancellors shall hold office for one term of five years but UASU has opposed and  recommended Vice Chancellors serve a three-year term renewable once.

Most Vice Chancellors in the UK and USA serve one term of seven (7) years. Currently in Kenya, the Vice Chancellors serve a five-year term renewable once; with a majority serving for a cumulative period of 10 years.

Further, they held Chancellors should be recruited by a Search Committee specifically constituted for that purpose.

“the Search Committee should comprise of University Council composed of distinguished academicians, representatives of the University Senate, UASU, alumni association and representatives of the Public Service Commission to conduct a search,” Dr Wasonga explained.

UASU stated that the Search Committee will tasked to publicly conduct interviews and a shortlist presented to University Council for submission to the President.

“Such a system, which found in many continental European countries, USA and Canada allows some input of the academic staff for the selection of Vice Chancellors in Estonia, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands and Sweden,” the Union stated its submission to the committee.

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