23 May 2018

Kenya: UASU Opposes Appointment of VCs By Public Service Commission

Nairobi — Universities' Academic Staff Union has opposed the appointment of university Vice chancellors by the Public Service Commission.

UASU Secretary General Constantine Wasonga has said the appointment of VCs should be a prerogative left to university councils made up of people versed with matters education, like the university councils and other university stakeholders.

Wasonga who was responding to proposals in a Bill already tabled on the floor of the House that seeks to change the appointment of VCs categorically stated that the commission should stay off lecturers' affairs.

"Lecturers should be allowed to decide on how they choose their leaders hence the proposed laws are unacceptable to us," said Wasonga who appeared before the National Assembly Education Committee on Wednesday.

According to the proposals in the Statute Law Miscellaneous Amendment Bill 2018, Vice Chancellors of public universities shall be appointed by the University Council in consultation with the Cabinet Secretary, after a competitive process conducted by the Public Service Commission.

The Bill further goes on to state that Chancellors shall be appointed by the President after the Public Service Commission identifies and ranks three candidates from a list of five names submitted by the University Senate.

It is these proposals however that dons union wants disregarded in totality arguing that the selection of their heads should be exclusively left to academicians.

Wasonga argued that globally VCs are recruited by a Search Committee specifically constituted for that purpose.

He cited countries such as USA and Canada that allow some input of the academic staff for the selection of Vice Chancellors in Estonia, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands and Sweden.

He further proposed that such committees should be composed of academicians, representatives of the University Senate, UASU, alumni association and representatives of the Public Service Commission.

At the same time Wasonga proposed a need to have a central body that deals with the hiring of university staff in a bid to curb tribalism in learning institutions.

He suggested formation of a University Service Commission would be fundamental in handling the rising cases where learning institutions have been accused of being tribal in the recruitment process.


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