Over 8,000 university lecturers in Kenya could risk losing their jobs in the next two months on the heels of a new government directive that sets a new appointment threshold for tutors.

The directive, which was announced in 2014 and expected to take effect in January 2018, requires that all university lecturers have PhDs. Those without PhDs can only be hired as tutorial fellows.

According to Kenya’s government statistics, the nation has about 400 full professors, 600 associate professors, and 400 full professors, less than 7,000 PhD holders—and around 8,500 lecturers without PhDs.

The new regulations also mean that the term “assistant lecturer” – referring to a post held by a non-PhD holder – will no longer be valid, despite years of experience or the number of publications.

Generally, teachers at universities in Kenya are opposed to the directive.  The government says that the new directive will rid the country of unqualified tutors and raise the quality of learning.

In an October article in Kenya’s The Daily Nation, Professor Amutabi, a full professor of history, Fulbright scholar, and vice-chancellor of Kenya University said, “A PhD is not a sine qua non to success in university teaching and research. The University of Nairobi was made famous by scholars such as Okot P’bitek, Taban Lo Liyong, Peter Anyumba, and Mukary Ng’ang’a, who did not have PhDs, but just good master’s degrees. The lack of PhDs did not deter them from teaching effectively.”


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