Lecturers’ shock in new payment plan pegged on courses they teach

Dr Constantine Wasonga Opiyo (C) Secretary-General of (UASU) addressing members, 23 July 2021. [Faith Chemtai, Standard]

There is a fresh push to peg lecturers’ salaries on courses they teach as stipulated by the Universities Act.

A high-level meeting of university education stakeholders yesterday heard that the provisions of the Universities Act that call for this new mode of salaries payment be implemented.

Section 54(4)(e) mandates the Universities Funding Board (UFB) to establish the minimum discipline differentiated remuneration for academic staff of universities, which shall be fair and globally competitive, and advise the Government accordingly.

This means that university academic staff will get paid based on the workload as opposed to the present method where lecturers earn uniform pay across the board.

Prof David Some, former Moi University Vice-Chancellor who chaired the task force on Higher Education Science and Technology that came up with the far-reaching reforms proposals said:

“If we cannot implement this section of the Act let us change the law. But as it stands this is the law and it should be implemented.”

He was speaking during the multi-sectoral conference on Science, Technology, and Innovation.

The meeting was convened by National Commission for Science, Technology, and Innovation (Nacosti) and was attended by Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha representative, Ministry PSs, vice-chancellors, and Chief Executive of the semi-autonomous government agencies (sagas) 

University Academic Staff Union (UASU) secretary-general Constantine Wasonga said the new push will be rejected by lecturers and professors.

“That plan will not work and we shall challenge it in court. How will they distinguish lecturers for sciences and humanities when deciding how to pay them?” said Wasonga.

He said the section of the law will not be implemented saying that it will amount to discrimination of the highest order. “They want to divide academic staff so that they can frustrate us and we shall not allow it. Let them be advised,” said Wasonga.

Prof Some, who presently is a lecturer at the University of Eldoret, School of Engineering, said that the present plan is not fair, given that universities are funded based on the Differentiated Unit Cost (DUC), which is also provided for in the universities act under section 54(4)(d).

“If we do not implement this section someone may even challenge this in court because it is the law,” said Prof Some, who is also former Chief Executive of Commission for Higher Education, presently called Commission University Education. DUC is the average amount of money needed to teach an academic programme.

The DUC has lumped specific costs of programmes into clusters of 18 ranging from the lowest being Sh144,000 for humanities and the highest Sh720, 000 for dentistry.

This means that lecturers teaching dentistry may not earn equal pay as those in same category but teaching humanities.

“This is because the workload is not the same. The amount of time needed to prepare to teach the courses, the amount of research needed to prepare and equipment used to teach are different and so these lecturers cannot be paid the same,” said Geoffrey Monari, UFB Chief Executive.

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