Kenya’s public universities are ailing. Lecturers have been on strike for 53 days now but do those responsible care?
In a country where doctors can go on strike for 100 days, for lecturers to down tools for only 53 days is not something to move the muscles.
This is not the first time lecturers are going on strike. Last time they went on strike, the government signed a collective bargaining agreement, CBA, where it agreed to increase the salaries of the dons, the agreement that never materialized.
Now that the strike has entered its second month, will all clear indications that it will soon jump into its third month, the Cabinet Secretary for Education seems aloof from the weight of the matter.
In fact, at the height of the strike, she was busy in Kakamega County (her home county) organizing her own homecoming party to “thank the President” for appointing her a Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Education.
What Ambassador Amina Muhammed is failing to understand is that university is the highest level of education in Kenya. There is no other level beyond the university. If, therefore, the highest level of education in the country is in the academic intensive care unit, then what can we make of the lowest level of education? (The primary level).
The frequent lecturers’ strikes have affected more than 600,000 thousand students in public universities. Some of them have been in school past their graduation year due to the numerous strikes that have ended up prolonging their terms in such institutions.
It is sad that the Cabinet Secretary was busy selecting and admitting students to join public universities when she knew very well that the lecture halls were without dons.
Several questions still go unanswered. For instance, why was the government signing the CBA knowing very well that it was hard to implement? Why is the government so silent about the ongoing strike when it touches on the core education foundation of this country?
The CS insists that the strike is illegal and that the striking dons should obey court orders and go back to class. Which court orders? In a country where government officials do not obey simple court summons, how do you expect others to obey them at the time the orders only favor you?
It was good for the Head of State to give Ambassador Amina Mohammed a job but making her the CS for an education was a mistake. All the gains that had been made by her predecessor, Fred Matiang’i are prone to go down the drain.
There should be a cabinet reshuffle and let Amina go to her ambassadorial job and the education sector given to scholars. We have people like Professor Magoha, why was he left out?