Universities will no longer hire lower-cadre teaching and non-teaching staff on permanent basis.
Education Secretary Fred Matiang’i directed the institutions Wednesday to also immediately conduct a staff audit to address growing wage bills.
At a meeting at Kenya School of Monetary Studies, Nairobi, to review growth of local public universities, he said only senior lecturers or higher will be permanent and pensionable.
The rot in the public universities — such as financial mismanagement, tribalism in recruitment and litigations engineered by top staff to lock out competitors — was also highlighted at the meeting.
“Time has come for us to look at what is going on in public universities,” said Mr Matiang’i at the launch of the second phase of reforms in public universities.
The first phase was launched in February this year.
Also in attendance was Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua and the Secretary, State Corporation Advisory Committee, Ms Jane Mugambi, and senior Ministry of Education officers.
Mr Matiang’i also stopped the setting up of satellite campuses by universities. “We have already closed campuses in Rwanda and Tanzania which were being run by Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology and Kenyatta University,” said Mr Matiang’i.
The CS said non-crucial university staff should be sacked, citing a university whose ratio of technical staff to non-teaching staff was 1:58.
Technical University of Kenya, Technical University of Mombasa and Muranga University were given six months to shed unnecessary staff inherited from previous institutions.
Mr Kinyua asked public university to embrace public partnership in areas such as construction of hostels to avoid overreliance on the Exchequer.
He also cautioned against over-reliance on part-time lecturers, saying the institutions had enough lecturers as well as duplication of academic programmes and asked universities to specialise.