WORRYING! MPs decry low staffing levels in public universities

By our reporter

A section of lawmakers on Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) have decried the low staffing levels within public universities after officials from Lira University admitted to have only two professors, while Kabale University’s staffing levels stand at 19%.

This was during a meeting held between the top leadership of Kabale University who had been summoned to respond to queries raised in the 2021 auditor general’s report.

In the audit report, Kabale University is reported to have swept back Shs354,991,986 to the consolidated fund, after failing to utilize all the Shs40.95Bn that the University received.

Johnson Baryantuma Munono, Kabale University Secretary told the Committee that the balance returned to the treasury arose from the unpaid staff salaries attributed to staff turnover and deaths towards the close of the year.

He said: “Due to staff turnover and lengthy recruitment for replacement, this amount of money couldn’t be spent. Our staffing levels are now at 19% but recently we got money for recruitment, I think we are now completing the exercise of recruitment, we are adding around 100 staff on the 361 staff we have. Of these being recruited, about 80% are teaching staff because we are moving more into teaching than administration.”

This prompted Medard Sseggona, Chairperson PAC to alert fellow lawmakers on taking keen interest in the low staffing levels within public universities, citing a case of Lira University that only has two professors.

“I think we need to note something cross cutting about staffing levels and do a tabulation about the difference because we need to do something about staffing levels. How can you have staffing levels at 19% and you expect efficiency?” asked Sseggona.

According to the University administration, Kabale University as per the end of 2021 had 4361 students and the University has 12 professors and six associate professors and other lecturers and the University is being run by 361 staff both teaching and non-teaching staff.

Fredrick Angura (Tororo South) asked the University bosses to break down how many of the newly recruited staff are academic, asking, “The accounting officer has talked about a slightly good number in relation to other entities we have met. Your core mandate is training and learning, on the additional 100 staff as far as interviews are concerned, how many of those are going to be part of the teaching staff and how many are part of support staff.”

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