CS Magoha Empowered To Appoint Varsity Vice-Chancellors (VCs)
A proposed bill is set to give Education Cabinet Secretary Prof George Magoha the powers to appoint Vice-Chancellors, Deputy Vice-Chancellors and Principals and Deputy Principals of Constituent Colleges of Public Universities following competitive recruitment.
In a bid to bring about transparency and accountability in the process of appointing the above-mentioned positions, a bill on the Overview of the Universities (Amendment)Bill, 2021 was presented before the National Assembly’s Committee on Education and Research in a meeting that was held in Mombasa towards the end of the month of October of this year (2021).
Part of the presentation states:
“The proposal to have Vice-Chancellors, Deputy Vice-Chancellors, Principals and Deputy Principals and Deputy Principals of Constituent Colleges through a selection panel is intended to ensure inclusivity in appointments, transparency and accountability.”
The bill states that the Selection Panel is to be chaired by a scholar who has at least 10 years of experience in leadership and management of either public or private institutions, a representative of the Council and the PS of the Ministry at the moment tasked with the University Education.
In addition, two representatives from the respective University Senate, one person to represent the body currently recognized as representing the interests of the private sector and two individuals with experience in human resource and public finance management in that order.
VCs have expressed opposing opinions regarding the Ministry’s composition of the Selection Panel arguing that the selection panel should also be made up of a Chairperson of the Council and two Council members who shall be independent.
The VCs also called for the panel to have two PSs who are in charge of University Education and the National Treasury and two representatives who are nominated by the Senate.
However, they have agreed on the Education CS to have the powers to have the final say in the process of appointing VCs.
Once the bill is made law, all appointments to the selection panel will be published in the Gazette as notice and then the panel will be able to regulate its own procedure.
However, in the present time, the Public Service Commission invites applications, then makes a shortlist before interviewing them and forwarding the names of successful candidates to councils of universities.
This has led to friction between universities and the Office of the Education CSsince councils and officials from the Education Ministry sometimes take advantage of the interpretation of the Act to serve whatever is convenient to them.