Magoha calls for sweeping reforms at public universities

Education Cabinet Secretary Prof. George Magoha speaking during the official launch of the National guidelines for alcohol & substance use prevention & management in basic education institutions. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha yesterday called on managers in institutions of higher learning to reduce the cost of non-academic human resource.

He advised universities to ensure the human resource workforce is at 70 per cent academic staff and 30 per cent non-academic staff to avoid wastage.

“It is the professor who defines the university and the strengths of the universities and yet some of us have decided it is the professor to go first. And then we have so many supporting staff, supporting who? If you have already removed professors bringing research money, where do you expect to get the money from?” posed Prof Magoha. 

He said that before he left the University of Nairobi six years ago, the budget was about Sh21 billion, and Sh5 billion of that budget came from research alone. Sh4 billion of that research money came from the College of Health Sciences, he added. Magoha said the national government will not just sit and watch some people mess public universities.

Speaking in Gem, Siaya County, during the handover ceremony of Moi University’s Odera Akango College campus to Maseno University, Magoha said vice chancellors must know that public universities belong to the government of Kenya.

“You have no powers as chairs of councils or even the VCs, so you must consult and this is in the interest of our children. We are asking universities to transform now. It cannot be your way... the university does not belong to you,” said Magoha.

The Cabinet secretary maintained that universities must reform and there must be an agreement on the best way.

He noted that reforming universities is urgent and should be done “as soon as yesterday”.

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