Agency to probe funds misuse at universities

Thursday September 29 2016

Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i talks to pupils from Makini School who turned up for a book expo at Sarit Centre in Westlands on September 22, 2016. Dr Matiang'i has said that public universities will be investigated for funds misappropriation. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i talks to pupils from Makini School who turned up for a book expo at Sarit Centre in Westlands on September 22, 2016. Dr Matiang'i has said public universities will be investigated for funds misappropriation. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By OUMA WANZALA
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The national government has ordered a special investigation into financial mismanagement at several public universities.

Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i said the move was prompted by an earlier audit that indicated that resources being allocated to universities are not being put into proper use.

“A special audit in selected universities will be carried out by Kenya National Audit Office,” said Dr Matiang’i, warning that those found culpable will be prosecuted.

However, Dr Matiang’i did not disclose the institutions to be investigated.

Also, he decried the leaning of public universities towards support staff at the expense of technical officers.

“We have a case where a university has 4,000 workers and its only 900 that are technical officers, the rest are support staff, which is not good for a learning institution,” said Dr Matiang’i during a forum with public university chancellors on Thursday.

The Cabinet secretary urged chancellors to take a leading role in solving disputes at their institutions amicably and appropriately.

“Recently, I received a case where a vice-chancellor organised students to protest against his deputy. And the following day the students, with the support of the deputy vice-chancellor, were also in my office to push for the vice-chancellor's removal. This is not good at all,” he said.

Further, he said proper management is required for better running of institutions.

“We need to start developing the capacity of university leadership in terms of management if we hope to go forward,” he said.

On the proposed guidelines on hiring vice-chancellors, their deputies and college principals, Dr Matiang’i said the rules will bring order in higher education.

Under the draft rules vice-chancellors, deputies and principals would be appointed by the Cabinet secretary on university councils’ recommendations.

The appointees must have at least seven years of administrative, academic and research experience at a senior level and possess leadership skills at academic or research institutions.

The regulations provide for the creation of the Chancellors’ Forum, which will meet at least twice a year.

All vice-chancellors will be required to submit a “state of the university” report to the respective chancellor.

Edited by Philip Momanyi