The government through the Public Service Commission (PSC) says promotions will now going forward be based on work experience and individual competence and not additional degrees which had seen civil servants enroll for masters degree in droves.
“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.
Public servants in the role of directors will, however, still be required to have a minimum qualification of a master, Mr Kirogo maintained.
Keeping in mind that senior civil servants earn salaries and perks that match those of managers in private sector, with some taking home nearly Sh1 million ($100,000) when multiple allowances are factored in, the automatic promotions based on acquisition of additional degrees has been blamed for putting pressure on the public wage bill.
Kenya’s wage bill stood at Sh795 billion ($7.95 billion) for the financial year to June 2019 and comprised of Sh322 billion ($3.22 billion) paid as allowances.
Despite representing less than two per cent of the population - 842, 000 public officials - the public payroll gobbles up half of tax collections and currently costs Sh620 billion annually.
According to data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) 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.