The Kenyan university lecturers have been facing huge challenges. Poor working conditions, teaching huge student numbers, and more units to collective bargaining agreements not being fully implemented are some of the challenges the Dons face every other day. These challenges have resulted in low motivation among many Kenyan university lecturers.
The question is who is the real enemy of the Kenyan University lecturers? I am of the opinion that the real enemy of the Don is the Don. All public universities, divisions, departments, and faculties are headed by Dons. The university senate members are Dons and this is where policies that affect the Don are approved. The ministry of education for some years has been headed by a Don.
Why is it then that the Don though in charge of universities in all areas has to some extent oppressed fellow Dons? Why is it that the policies approved by a majority of Dons rarely favor the Don? I am of the opinion that once some Dons get into positions of leadership, they quickly forget that one day they will go back to class. Others care less as long as the decision does not affect them at the time, forgetting their positions are temporary.
It is baffling how a Don will make it very difficult for other Dons to be promoted or even enjoy their CBA monies. Today the Dons 2013-2017 CBA still has issues when in other government sectors, 2017-2021 has been finalized. It is perplexing when Dons in positions of leadership either say nothing or cheer their bosses when other Dons are being overburdened. Who bewitched the Don? Do the Dons become too comfortable when they ascend to positions of leadership or what is the problem?
The other sad reality is when colleagues start feeling threatened when their own is rising. Such if in any position of authority will start pulling down the Don. They will backstab the Don, others will play dysfunctional politics and deny such Dons opportunities for growth. Some heads will bully and set up the Dons under their supervision for failure to slow their progress. Some Dons will never speak anything good about another Don. Some are in the frontline to wrongly accuse another Don. Let me ask one more time, who bewitched the Don?
However, all is not lost for I must say there are Dons who are very good. I know Dons who will go out of their way to alert colleagues of opportunities. There are Dons who will always motivate others to grow. Some in authority will make decisions that do not disadvantage the Don. Do you know any Don who is really good? Send them this article and appreciate them.
The Don must understand that one does not rise by pulling others down. You gain nothing by bringing your colleagues down or denying them the opportunity to unlock their potential. You don’t gain any competitive advantage by pulling down your colleagues. Strategically speaking, if you are a Don in authority, make decisions and policies as if you are the lecturer.
Power must never get into your head once you are in a position of authority. Use your power to make those under you better and motivate them. Be a servant leader who is genuinely happy when your staff is excelling. Remember one day you will not be occupying the position you occupy now. Make the life of the Don better, not worse when in authority.
What is your take on what ails the Don in the Kenyan Universities? What are your experiences as a Don? Leave a comment and let the discussion continue.
Dr. Mary Mugo
Strategy, Governance, and Management Consultant