23 May 2018

Kenya: UASU - PSC to Keep Off VCs Jobs

Lecturers' body has opposed the appointment of Vice Chancellors (VCs) by the Public Service Commission (PSC).

Universities' Academic Staff Union (Uasu) says recruitment of public universities VCs should be left to university councils and other stakeholders in Education sector.

The union's secretary-general Constantine Wasonga while making submissions on a bill before Parliament said appointment of VCs should be left to people versed with education matters.

The Statute Law Miscellaneous Amendments Bill 2018, proposes that VCs of public universities be appointed by the university councils in consultation with the Cabinet Secretary, after a competitive process conducted by the PSC.

The bill sponsored by National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale also seeks to streamline the operations of public universities. It proposes that the VCs should hold office for one term of five years.

The bill further states that Chancellors shall be appointed by the President after the PSC identifies and ranks three candidates from a list of five names submitted by the university senate.

Dr Wasonga told the National Assembly Committee on Education chaired by Tinderet MP Julius Melly that VCs appointments should be left to academicians and PSC should keep off lecturers' affairs.

" Lecturers should be allowed to decide how they choose their leaders. The proposed laws are unacceptable to us," Dr Wasonga said.

He said that university councils should be allowed to form a committee composed of distinguished academicians, representatives of university senates, Uasu and representatives of the PSC to conduct the search for VCs.

"Globally VCs are recruited by a search committee constituted for that purpose. Such a system, which is found in many European countries, USA and Canada allows some input from the academic staff," said Dr Wasonga.

According to the universities Act of 2012, which the government seeks to amend, the recruitment of VCs, deputy VCs and principals of constituent colleges must go through a competitive process by councils appointed by the Education Cabinet Secretary.

The lecturers union also want the period of service reduced to a three years renewable term. Currently, VCs serve a five-year term which is renewable once.

Dr Wasonga said in the United Kingdom and USA, VCs serve a one term of seven years.

Mr Melly promised to issue a report with recommendations on the matter.

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