Vice-chancellors of public universities have demanded an urgent meeting with Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) over a job evaluation report that has attracted protest from academic staff.
“We kindly request for an urgent meeting with a representative of the vice-chancellors of the public universities to discuss the ongoing job evaluation exercise and reports that have been forwarded to a number of institutions,” Vice-chancellors Committee chairman Francis Aduol said in a letter to SRC chief executive officer Anne Gitau dated July 25.
Prof Aduol went on: “We consider this matter to be urgent as it is already raising questions amongst the staff across various public universities.”
University academic staff union (Uasu) has rejected the evaluation that gives more recognition to administrative staff at the expense of those in academic section despite having invested heavily in their education.
Uasu secretary-general Constantine Wasonga said the evaluation results should encourage scholarship and retention of academic staff who drive the research and teaching.
“We are rewarding staff in administrative positions, some with one degree, yet lecturers with three degrees are being rated below them. This is unacceptable,” Dr Wasonga said.
Already several universities in the country are struggling to replace retiring lecturers who hold PhDs.
A report by the commission indicates that for the last one year, close to 6,000 students enrolled in universities for PhDs, but only 369 graduated.
Kenya has less than 10,000 PhD holders and requires 1,000 PhDs per year in order to narrow the student to lecturer ratio.
The evaluation ranked lecturers below most administrative officers with a professor being listed as the highest paid academic staff.
Vice-chancellors are ranked highest at E5, Deputy vice-chancellors and principal of colleges are at E4 while the lowest ranked employee was a sweeper at grade A.
Associate professors who also hold doctorate degrees were ranked at E1 together with deputy librarians and finance officers, a level below registrars in universities.
Seniors lecturers at grade D4 have been put together with senior librarians, senior estate managers and bookshop managers, among others, with catering and hostels managers being one top of senior lecturers.
Senior lecturers are required to have a minimum of PhD with more than 15 years of experience at the university.
A public relation officer of a university, a transport and garage manager and a farm manager were however ranked higher than a university lecturer.
They were put in Grade D3 while a lecturer is at grade D2.
An assistant lecturer at the university is in job group D1, below a hostel officer and corruption prevention officer, among others.