University academic staff are headed for a major battle with the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) over a proposed grading structure they say placed them below junior administrative staff.

The academic staff say the grading system has failed to recognise their special role, banding them lower than junior administrative colleagues.

What is further disturbing the staff is that the SRC has categorised some administrative positions according to the size or establishment of universities.

Vice chancellors of older institutions – University of Nairobi, Egerton University, Moi University, Kenyatta University, Maseno University and JKUAT – have been placed at higher groups (E5) compared to those in the newer or smaller universities who were placed in group E4.

The Deputy Vice Chancellors (DVCs) of older universities have been placed at E4, while their counterparts in newer institutions are at E3, according to the analysis of the preliminary job evaluation report.

Overall, professors fall under grade E2, associate professors (E1), senior lecturers (D4), lecturers (D2) and assistant lecturers (D1). In other universities, assistant lecturers/tutorial fellow/junior research fellow have been placed at a lower scale (C5) and graduate assistants (C2).

“If our nations highest level of human resource, from whom knowledge flows to the rest of the citizens, would be thus lowly regarded it would be a sad commentary indeed of where our beloved country places the pinnacle of knowledge,” said UASU Secretary General Constantine Wasonga.

The SRC last week sent evaluation reports to the respective universities for consideration. Sources at the commission said the evaluation reports are preliminary and will be subjected to further stakeholder engagements.

But in a petition to the SRC, Wasonga says the union was not involved in the process and asks the Commission to conduct a transparent, participatory and fair job evaluation in line with its mandate.

“The report downgrades the highest academic position in the land; elevates administrative positions over academic positions and woefully fails to understand the role of academic positions in higher education,” said Wasonga.

Wasonga and union national chairman Muga K’Olale signed the petition dated July 18.

UASU demands SRC reviews its job evaluation tools and designs questionnaires that adequately address all academic positions in the universities.


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