VCs fight Magoha’s plan to control varsities; Latest Education News on Universities Today
University bosses say move would undermine the autonomy and oversight authority of the councils
The VCs are also against the proposal to allow CS, as the appointing authority of the council members, to revoke appointment or transfer them.
The VCs also seek Public Service Commission stripped powers to hire top university managers and the process be done internally.
Vice chancellors of public universities have disputed plans to amend sections of the University Act to give the Education CS control over the institutions.
The University Act is the supreme authority guiding governance of the institutions. Among proposals fronted include the review of the powers to the university council.
The councils are the main decision-making organs in the universities.
Magoha argues that by the fact that the councils enjoy and exercise delegated authority from the Cabinet Secretary, he should reserve the right to review or vacate a council decision.
“As the designated appointing authority, the Cabinet Secretary shall have power to revoke any appointment to, or transfer or otherwise deploy the chairperson or any member of any Council,” the proposal by the Education ministry reads.
However, in disagreement, the VCs in a brief to the Education Committee on Thursday disputed the proposal to give the CS such powers arguing that such a move would undermine the autonomy and oversight authority of the university councils.
The university bosses also argue that a representative of the ministry sits at the council whose role is to guide the council on the government position on matters arising, thus such powers to the CS would render the representative redundant.
The VCs are also against the proposal to allow CS, as the appointing authority of the council members to revoke appointment or transfer council members.
They argue council members are not employees of the universities or the Education ministry but trustees.
“Such a decision would lead to suits,” the proposal reads.
The Vice Chancellors committee was presenting its recommendations to the National Assembly Committee on Education in Mombasa.
Also attending the meeting was Magoha, University Education PS Simon Nabukwesi, Kenya Association of Private Universities Ag. chair Philip Maiyo, Commission for University Education chief executives, Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service, University Funding Board and Council Chairs.
Appointment of VCs
In the proposal, the VC committee also rejected the role of the Public Service Commission in the recruitment of senior staff in public institutions of higher learning.
The committee chair Geoffrey Muluvi indicated that the Vice Chancellors Committee is of the idea that top management of the university—including VCs, DVCs, Principals and their deputies be appointed internally by the council.
VCs argue that this will ensure the replacement of VCs is done on a timely manner.
It would be done through a selection panel that will be chaired by the chair of the council.
Other members sitting on the committee will include PS University Education, PS National Treasury, two independent council members and two representatives of the senate.
The names of three successful candidates to be forwarded to the education CS for appointment.
The VCs also recommend that the renewal of the VCs term be based on appraisal by University council.