Inadequate capitation forcing learning institutions to employ unqualified staff

Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu. He has blamed Treasury for the financial woes bedevilling education institutions.

Inadequate capitation has forced learning institutions to employ unqualified personnel because of the inability to sustain fully qualified staff.

This was revealed by the Public Investments Committee on Governance and Education during a meeting with Cabinet Secretary for Education Ezekiel Machogu, who appeared before it to answer queries relating to the management of educational institutions.

The committee chaired by Jack Wamboka indicated that the government capitation has been decreasing annually, sometimes dropping to below 30 per cent. This, they observed, had made it reasonably impossible for learning institutions to fully operationalize.

During the deliberations, the lawmakers through the guidance of the Auditor General’s report and physical verification of documents, observed that there are various gaps existing in learning institutions.

Additionally, it was noted that most accounting officers lack basic training on matters management which translates to audit queries.

The committee recommended that the ministry considers devising a policy on training of its staff, which they termed as crucial for the overall management and performance of learning institutions.

The committee observed that quite a number of positions within universities and tertiary institutions had been vacant, attracting acting positions filled beyond the stipulated timelines which is contrary to the law.

President William Ruto in a past graduation ceremony. Universities have been forced to hire quacks as government capitation dwindles.

This, the lawmakers noted, is in breach of Section 34(3) of the Public Service Commission Act, 2017 which provides that “An officer may be appointed in an acting capacity for a period of at least thirty days, but not exceeding a period of six months.”

“A case scenario is the registrar of Kenyatta University who has been in acting position for close to six (6) years and the Finance Officer of Multimedia University who has been acting for more than five (5) years,” observed  Wamboka.

The committee also established that most tertiary institutions are understaffed and lack basic resources for efficient delivery of its mandate.

The members pointed out that the number of staff recruited by the ministry was less, forcing the institution to absorb extra staff even with the underlying financial constraints.

The lawmakers asked the CS to shed more light on the concerns raised, the probable cause of dysfunction in public educational institutions, and the plans the ministry has put in place to improve.

In his response, Machogu said he has continuously been putting measures in place to address the gaps witnessed.

The CS was requested to harmonize his report and that of the Auditor General in two weeks’ time and to hold accountable any officer involved, before appearing before the committee again.

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By Obegi Malack

obegimalack@gmail.com

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Education News - Newspaper Vol 281