Principal Secretary State Department for University Education and Research Prof. Japhet Micheni Ntiba says an inter-ministerial task force has been put in place to ensure the problems surrounding the ongoing University lecturers strike are fully addressed and all the stakeholders fully understand the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).
Prof Ntiba said the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) whose term ended in December last year will soon be reconstituted and a counter offer to address the remuneration of University Dons would be sought.
Professor Ntiba said it is unfortunate that learning has been paralyzed in the Public universities thus compromising the quality of learning and teaching offered in the Universities. He regretted that since 1993 to 2018 the concerns leading to the recurrent strikes have failed to be addressed. “It is unfortunate that we have failed to participate in solving the issues, however, the Government is determined to find a new approach of solving the problem once and for all to create some stability in the Universities,” said the PS.
On the quality of degree programs offered in local Universities, the PS expressed concern over the duration it takes for postgraduate students to complete their Masters and Ph.D. programs. He cited lack of commitment by Lecturers and the mushrooming of Private Universities as one of the causes affecting learning in the Universities. The PS also said that inadequate supervision has also compromised education standards, therefore, producing incompetent graduates to the job market. “Students in Public universities are lacking full content because lecturers aren’t committed to teaching in Public Universities, we have received numerous complaints from students about the quality of teaching in the public universities, I urge you, lecturers, to be committed and guide by practicing leadership,” said the PS.
Prof. Ntiba was speaking at the Machakos University during the University’s first annual conference on Scientific Research, Innovation and Technology for Sustainable Development where he was the Chief Guest. Earlier, during the opening of the conference, the PS challenged Universities to instill new knowledge and develop fresh technologies and innovations which can produce new products for the country and the region so as to compete with global markets. “I challenge you to shift focus from having so many students and support students to produce ST&I products that can be able to create wealth and improve the economy,” he said.
The PS noted that the Universities have a big role to play in helping the country achieve the big four agenda by utilizing the resources provided by the Government as well as collaborations with the private sector, political parties, and the Country Government so as to address the development gaps.