Shortly after he directed public universities and all schools not to reopen until 2021, Education CS Prof. George Magoha has now directed public universities’ vice chancellors to lay off excess staff.
The corona virus has already seen thousands of Kenyans lose their jobs and more Kenyans continue joining the unemployment pool by the day. Hundreds of more Kenyans who have been working at the 78 public universities across the country could lose their jobs as well.
Normally, the CS cannot direct VCs if and when they are to lay off staff because only the government initiates layoffs.
“Just like in the international arena, 70 per cent of staff should be academic staff and 30 per cent non-teaching staff,” he noted and added that VCs should not wait for the ministry of education to tell them how to run the institutions.
“You must have the right size of staff because the government is like God. It helps those who help themselves,” he said during the 42nd graduation ceremony by Egerton University in Njoro, Nakuru County, which took place virtually.
The CS added that the professors running the universities have been the biggest stumbling blocks to the reforms he intended to bring to the learning institutions.
“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.
The CS further encouraged universities to pick up online training and embrace online learning as it will help the institutions get by without the then laid off staff.
“That is the new normal and we must embrace it because the pandemic is probably going to stay here for a long time since it came abruptly. We must find a way to exist,” the CS commented about online learning.
He further said institutions of higher learning will be reopened next year as they have been complacent in Covid-19 prevention.
“We are of the opinion that the lives of our young children are far more important than the degrees they are going to get. Covid-19 cases are increasing so the government is not going to risk the lives of thousands of students,” he said.
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