The Universities Academic Staff Union (UASU) has strongly opposed the government’s proposed Universities’ merger. UASU has insisted the stakeholders weren’t consulted, “Any change in policy requires vigorous public participation among all the key stakeholders and any proposal for change will require a vote from the academic staff,” said UASU Secretary General Constantine Wasonga, who was speaking to the press on Thursday.
The Ministry of Education’s plan to merge public Universities has been revealed in previous fora, with Education CS Prof. George Magoha indicating the duplication of courses and the lack of maximum utilization of Universities as among the factors that have contributed to the merger proposal. Public Universities’ Vice Chancellors have already been presented with the plans and urged to prepare the list of Universities to be merged in a previous meeting, with an estimated more than 27,000 staff including 9,000 lecturers set to be affected by the radical decision.
However, UASU has said the government should focus on increasing the funding for Universities and recruiting more staff since the number of students’ enrolment has increased, compared to the past, something which has also led to the establishment of Universities in the Counties. Wasonga noted that the larger public Universities are facing financial challenges, “It was noted from the Auditor General’s report that the large public Universities have a higher financial deficit and challenges than the smaller Universities,” he said, “It is no secret that some old Universities are insolvent therefore any merger involving absorption of younger Universities will only serve to extend the current financial crisis of the old public Universities to the younger universities.”
By Ian Madiavale