Kusu opposes universities’ merger initiative

Kenya Universities Staff Union Secretary General Charles Mukhwaya. [File, Standard]
A workers’ union has opposed the Government’s plan to merge universities.

The Kenya Universities Staff Union (Kusu) is arguing that the merger process is not being undertaken within the framework of the law.

Kusu Secretary General Charles Mukhwaya said the union was opposed to a situation where after the mergers, employees would have to be employed afresh on contract terms.

Mr Mukhwaya said the labour law envisaged a situation where employees and their employers engaged in collective bargaining agreements on such matters.

“Employment terms are a negotiable item in the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). It provides that an employee can either be hired on contract or permanent and pensionable terms,” said Mukhwaya.

In June, the Education Ministry gave universities two weeks to prepare a list of institutions to be merged and those to be shut.

The directive was met with protests from university managers who argued that the decision was being undertaken without involving all stakeholders.

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Vice-chancellors are expected to come up with a number of staff to be laid off, the programmes to be merged and campuses to be closed.

Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha has been firm in his resolve to reform university education.

He has argued that the sector has been highly commercialised and if left unregulated, will distort the quality of education.

One of the changes Prof Magoha suggested was to have universities specialise in particular courses, a system common in the United States, instead of having several institutions offering the same course.

“Kenyatta University, for example, is known to be good in Education. The Government can strengthen it to be a mega university on education, with several colleges. Something has to be done, otherwise universities will be glorified high schools,” Magoha said.

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Kenya Universities Staff UnionCharles MukhwayaUniversities merger