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Kenya Stops Use Of Master’s Degree For Promotions

The Kenyan Government has stopped relying on postgraduate qualifications as a ticket for promotion in the civil service.

Kenya’s Public Service Commission (PSC) says promotions will now be based on work experience and individual competence and not additional degrees in what mirrors private sector practices.

The quest for promotion in the public service has seen hundreds of civil servants seek master’s degree and PhD qualifications.

“In view of the transitional arrangement, the commission has suspended the requirements of the strategic leadership development programme and Master’s degree as parameters for promotion of public officers to senior position,” PSC chairperson Stephen Kirogo said in a March 11 memo.

But Mr Kirogo maintains that public servants in the role of directors will be required to have a minimum qualification of a master.

Top civil servants earn salaries and perks that match those of managers in private sector, with some taking home nearly KSh1 million when multiple allowances are factored in.

The automatic promotions based on acquisition of additional degrees has been partly been blamed for putting pressure on the public wage bill.

Standing at KSh620 billion annually, the public payroll gobbles up half of tax collections and compensates 842, 000 public officials who represent less than two per cent of the population.

The public wage bill is 17 per cent above the global average of 35 per cent for middle-income countries, a club that Kenya recently joined after recalculating its economic size.

The government is betting on faster economic growth and faster growth in taxes to support the increased payroll expenditure. Tax collections continue to trail targets in a sluggish business environment.

Economic growth is, however, expected to remain sluggish in the short term on the effects of poor weather, reduced private sector lending and the uncertainty over the coronavirus outbreak in Kenya.

“The commission has noted that some of the requirements for promotion may not be facilitating acquisition of the envisioned skill, competencies and attributes required at the higher level, “Mr Kirogo said.

The rule on Masters’ degrees comes in a period when Kenya has witnessed a sharp growth in postgraduate enrolment.

Data released by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) shows that 43,988 students were pursuing Master’s degree and PhD courses in the year to June, up from 32,977 in a similar period last year.

Universities are promoting the courses in a bid to grow their revenues, hit by the sharp drop in the number of students pursuing the parallel [self-sponsored] degree courses, whose fees are based on market rates.

This has seen top institutions like the University of Nairobi freeze hirings and expansion plans as they struggle with huge debts.

Master’s degree and PhD students increased by 317 percent in the five years to June 2017, putting pressure on university facilities like lecture halls and libraries as well as lecturers in a market with a high tutor to student ratio.

Credit: Business Daily

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