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Education CS Prof Magoha Wants VCs To Layoff Non-Essential Staff In Public Universities

Denville KE

Aug. 01, 2020

Public University staff may be facing massive layoffs ahead of schools reopening in 2021, as Education CS George Magoha on Friday told Vice-Chancellors to start planning how to relieve non-essential and other excess staff in order to survive the cash crunch.
Unlike in the past where the government initiated the layoffs, the CS gave the VCs permission to reduce their human resource.
Magoha said that just like in the international arena, 70 per cent of staff should be academic staff and 30 per cent, non-teaching staff. he noted that the VCs should not wait for the Ministry of Education to tell them how to run the institutions.
“If VCs and councils decide to create more management positions, there will be financial implications which may not be necessary, They must consult the Treasury and assure the government it is viable and sustainable. This idea of employment without consulting the government has to stop,” said the CS.
The Education CS spoke during the 42nd graduation ceremony by Egerton University in Njoro, Nakuru County, which took place virtually.
Egerton VC Rose Mwonya had requested the CS to help the university overcome the financial crisis that has seen it slash staff salaries by 40 per cent.
The CS told her, “These are things you can do with your council and under the guidance of the chancellor if you are listening to him. He is one of the best industrialists. If you want to know how to do business, he should tell you.”
Prof Magoha described the financial unsustainability of public universities as one of the main bottlenecks in reorganising them.
“Professors managing public universities are the biggest stumbling blocks in reforming the higher education sector in Kenya. President Uhuru Kenyatta gave me the first directive of reforming universities but I must say it is one of the most difficult challenges because professors are very difficult people to deal with, me being one of them. They don’t see why one should tell them anything because they think they know everything.”
The CS said that all universities cannot be the same so they must identify their areas of strength and capitalise on them.
Magoha added, " ..all public universities in Kenya should identify their areas of strength and concentrate on them while leveraging on what they have. Egerton should be supplying towns with food. I don’t see anything produced from Egerton University. Instead, I see only wananchi on the road. What do you want to take pride in?  Egerton is our agriculture jewel.”
The CS further told university managers to crack the whip on lazy staff. “Either they perform or leave. If it worked while I was a VC at the University of Nairobi, why can’t it work here at Egerton or at any other public university?”
Prof Magoha further noted that Egerton is blessed with many qualified staff, who should be trained on how to write good proposals to attract donor-funding instead of waiting for the National Research Fund to give them funds.
If the public universities are not prepared to change, they must prepare to die, he said.
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