Parliament Rejects Placement of Government Sponsored Students in Private Universities, Reduces Magoha’s Powers

Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha will suffer yet another blow after legislators failed to pass the Universities Amendment Bill, 2021 in which he was seeking control over tertiary institutions.

The national assembly also rejected the placement of government-sponsored students to private universities.

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi faulted a report from the Education and Research Committee that gave the cs powers to appoint public university vice-chancellors and control decisions made by councils.

“Clauses giving powers to the CS to appoint VCs, revoke appointment of members of public universities and approve meetings raises questions of whether that will promote good governance. It is a matter the committee ought to have considered,” Mr Muturi said.

According to the legislators, giving the cs such sweeping powers violates the values and principles of governance as outlined in the Constitution.

The Universities Amendment Bill, 2021 sought to allow the CS to take “appropriate action in the public interest” to ensure proper governance in public universities.

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Since the bill was not passed, the CS will not have powers to revoke appointments, transfer and deploy members of councils, review or vacate council decisions and give approval to a council seeking to meet more than four times a year.

The lawmakers argued that the Florence Mutua-chaired committee ignored concerns raised by other MPs and allowed the changes to pass.

Mr Muturi said the team did not meet the threshold set by Parliament on the need for public participation.

In the reports tabled by the panel, the Speaker added, there was no indication on whether the committee invited vice-chancellors of the 52 chartered universities, including 32 public and 12 with letters of interim authority, to make presentations.

“There is no mention of the committee inviting and considering crucial input of stakeholders such as the Commission on University Education and existing universities fund boards,” he said.

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