SHAME on Kenya Polytechnic University ... We say SHAME AGAIN .... A MUST READEditor's Choice 05:17
Sit back for this one. The Kenya DAILY POST has received a letter from a disgruntled Kenya Polytechnic University College lecturer that details the ways in which the school has not only failed the lecturers but also failed its students.
The lecturer (who we shall call Tom for the purpose of this article) says Kenya Poly contracted him to teach the students early this year and since then he has witnessed the objectionable and - let’s face it - deplorable way in which this esteemed public institution is run by the powers that be.
Tom thought he landed a sweet deal when he was contracted to teach a class at Kenya Poly (for Ksh 600 per student) but soon realised that the school’s administration were more bent on cramming the classes with students than on paying him. The alarm bells in Tom’s head started going off when he was forced to teach a ‘common course’ instead of the part time work he had been employed for;
“I write to present sentiments that would be echoed by majority of part-time lecturers at Kenya Polytechnic University College. I have been in the system as a part-time lecturer since January 2012. The appointment was to run between January to April 2012 and the remuneration was to be Ksh. 600 per student contact hour teaching 4 hours a week, per unit except for the part-time class where no official communication was made on the when, and how much was to be paid. In this particular semester, I taught 2 regular classes and one part-time class. To date, only payments for the month of January in the regular classes have been paid. Besides payment, the working conditions were pathetic whereby; I was assigned to teach a common course.”
Tom’s main issue with Kenya Poly is not just the way it has taken its time before processing his payment for services rendered (strike anyone?) but the way the school is making him an unwilling accomplice to its mistreatment of students. According Tom, Kenya Poly’s sins against the students are many but he lists the most glaring. These include the fact that the school has somehow managed to cram over 150 students into a class that was meant for just 70;
“Teaching a common course means that one would teach students from different departments in the college. For this particular one however, we were to teach the group of students as indicated in the appointment letter but unfortunately, a month into the semester, 'other students' joined our classes and in my class, from an initial 70 students, I had a class of over 150 students. Attempts to seek an explanation on why the extra students and that late, could not be given and I had to act in good faith for the sake of my students. The most frustrating part was that of rooms’ allocation as the room that we had been allocated initially was too small to fit all of us. Every lecture hour was a roaming period in search for a room in which we could fit.”
Tom’s salary problems persist;
“All this time, our head of department did not seem to care what was going on. Somehow I pulled through it hoping and thinking that by the end of April, I would be rewarded with my small salary as part of honoring the contract. But alas! Even after marking the scripts and returning them to the department within two weeks of the exam period, I still wait "patiently" that before the end of this year, I will somehow get my money paid as I honored part of my contract faithfully. The most unfortunate thing to date is that the head of department had our claim forms from February to April in her office by the last time we checked (8th August 2012).”
Of all the sins against its students though the Tom says Kenya Poly’s worst offence is the way it handles the matter of exams. Tom was mortified to learn for example that a class he taught only partially expected him to set the exam. This situation, explains Tom, eventually led to the students having to do the same paper that had previously been done by another class;
“To crown it all, I had taught a third year class during that semester and according to the university, they were meant to do an end of year examination (Stage examination). This as the lecturer was not made apparent. It is only through my students that I learnt they were to sit for my paper in 2 days time. The big question was who was the examiner? Myself? How and I had not set any paper for that particular date.”
“On the examination day, I faithfully attended the examination session only to find the same examination I had given my student in April on the students’ desk. This I must say was an embarrassing moment for me as their lecturer whereas the head of department and my students were not amused as this was the norm. Are there examination rules at Kenya Polytechnic? Who does quality control if any? And, the lecturer is supposed to mark these same scripts again, without a single penny to be paid! If the university makes money out of the student's fees, then how come money for paying the lecturers is never available every month? Where is justice?”
SHAME on KENYA POLY.
The Kenyan DAILY POST