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Education CS To Hire And Fire Vice Chancellors In A New Proposal

Education CS George Magoha could soon poses the powers to hire and fire public university vice chancellors, if a fresh bill proposed before Parliament is adopted.

The proposal, which has been sponsored by National Assembly Majority Leader Amos Kimunya, seeks to amend the University Act 2012, a move which aims at stripping university councils of power to select VCs and their deputies. This simply implies that the university councils will become impotent if the new bill goes through.

Currently, the appointment of university heads is done by the Public Service Commission that forwards three names of the most successful candidates to the university council.

The council then submits the name of the top candidate to the CS for confirmation and formal appointment.

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However, in the proposed arrangement, the appointment of the vice chancellors and their deputies will be done by a selection panel constituted by the Education CS.

The CS will appoint members to conduct interviews and recommend.

“The selection panel shall advertise for the vacancies and publicise the applicants and shortlisted candidates, conduct interviews of the shortlisted candidates,” the bill before parliament reads.

The selection panel will also extend its powers to appointment of principals of university colleges and their deputies.

The selection panel will be required to identify three qualified applicants for each vacant position and forward three names of the qualified applicants to the Cabinet Secretary.

“The Cabinet Secretary shall within fourteen days of receipt of the names appoint a candidate from any of the three qualified applicants,” it reads.

The selection panel shall comprise of a chairperson, a representative of the council and a representative of the University Education PS.

Others will include a male and female nominee on behalf of the university senate, one person to represent interests of the private sector; and two persons with a background in human resource and public finance management.

The bill was introduced for First Reading in the National Assembly last week.

Parliament on Tuesday in a notice published in local dailies called on members of the public to forward their input on the proposals on or before September 21.

The bill proposes far-reaching changes that seek to clip the powers of the councils including limiting the number of deputy vice chancellors to three.

The Cabinet Secretary for Education will have powers to hire, fire and vacate any decision of the university council members.

The bill comes 18 months after a row over the appointment of Stephen Kiama as vice chancellor of the University of Nairobi.

CS Magoha had opposed the appointment noting that the university council had not consulted with him.

The CS suspended the university council. However, the Employment and Labour Relations Court suspended both decisions.

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