The inspiring journey of academic excellence and career growth of a high school teacher turned cabinet secretary in Kenya has continued to encourage many, and give hope to the 45 million citizens in the country, that hard work and integrity pays and rewarded in due time.
Born in Meru, Professor Margaret Kobia remained largely unknown to Kenyans until the day she was vetted to become Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs. She had invested her time in the world of academia and working behind the scenes to transform government institutions.
Prof. Kobia in her teens attended Alliance Girls High School in Kikuyu for her O and A levels. She then studied Bachelor of Education, UON, Masters of Education at Kenyatta University and a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Human Resource Education at the University of Illinois.
Prof. Kobia then started her career journey as a high school teacher at Ngara Girls High School in Nairobi. She later joined the Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) as a researcher and test developer/examiner. From a teacher, she became a trainer of science teachers at the Kenya Science Teachers Training College (TTC).
Prof. Kobia then went back to the university where she was a student, Kenyatta University, and worked in the administration and lectured. She continued rising in her career and joined the Commission for Higher Education (CHE) and was also a Senior Lecturer at the Strathmore University.
Following a job advertisement and competitive recruitment process, Prof. Kobia became the Director of the Kenya Institute of Administration (KIA). It is during her time at KIA that the institution transformed to Kenya School of Government (KSG). The experience at KIA gave her first-hand experience working in the public service and understanding how government works.
After leaving KIA, and in honour of her work, one of the biggest buildings in KIA is named after Prof. Margaret Kobia. She says, “I am happy that KIA is building capacity for public servants. It inducts all directors of state corporations, and we have over 280. It trains all public servants in the area of public sector reform, public administration, public policy, and strategic leadership.”
She left KIA and became the Chairperson of the Public Service Commission (PSC), and later Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs.
Some of her strengths in work include competency, inspiring staff, delegation, a wealth of knowledge, integrity, and honesty, capability in delegation and empowerment.
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