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Amina asks varsities to lay off staff in cost-cutting bid

Friday August 31 2018

universities

Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed speaks before the National Assembly Education Committee on August 28, 2018. She has proposed drastic measures to alleviate cash-strapped universities. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP  

OUMA WANZALA
By OUMA WANZALA
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Thousands of university staff are likely to lose their jobs after the government asked the institutions to consider sacking some for sustainability.

Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed said universities must address the ratio of technical staff to support staff who are in the institutions.

Ms Mohamed said the number of support staff is too high.

“We are encouraging and supporting rationalisation to guarantee sustainability of institutional operations,” she said.

Universities have a total of 27,000 staff, 9,000 being lecturers while the rest are non-teaching staff.

Ms Mohamed added that the government is in support of ongoing austerity measures in the institutions and asked them to rethink strategies to raise sustainable operations capital.

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SATELLITE CAMPUSES

Some of these austerity measures by universities include a freeze on employment of new staff, retrenchment of current staff and closure of satellite campuses.

“Universities must also devise innovative ways to generate additional income to supplement government allocation,” she said.

In order to survive the tough economic times, she banned universities from setting up more satellite campuses across the country.

This financial year, the government allocated Sh91.1 billion to support university education; and Sh9.6 billion to the Higher Education Loans Board (Helb).

Universities - be they public or private - have been struggling for the last two years due to lack of enough students.

Some have closed their satellite campuses while others are unable to pay their staff.

ENROLMENT

The University of Nairobi has since announced plans to retrench some staff as it struggles with cash flow hitches following a dip in privately students enrolment and State funding.

The Treasury slashed allocation to the institution by Sh1.7 billion in the current financial year to Sh4.5 billion.

Moi University has since closed its Kitale, Kericho and Odero Akang’o campuses while Kisii University has shutdown more than six satellite campuses.

Kenya Methodist University (Kemu) and Catholic University of Eastern Africa (Cuea) are also struggling and have already announced plans to sell some of their assets to settle debts.

Garissa University is also facing a financial crisis as it has been unable to pay its workers and suppliers.

Ms Mohamed added that the Commission for University Education is reviewing the depth and substance of programmes to eliminate unit duplication and shallow course content.