Margaret Kobia

Margaret Kobia is the Cabinet Secretary for the Public Service, Youth and Gender. She was the first woman in Kenya to chair the Public Service Commission (PSC). She was tasked with providing strategic policy direction to the board for the performance of public servants. Her career trajectory in the civil service spans for over a decade and clearly speaks for itself that her accomplishments are deserved and not just a mere antic of tokenism or appeasing the ‘weaker sex’.

Born and raised in Meru as the first born in a family of seven, Kobia kick-started her career in 1981 serving as a teacher at Ngara Girls High school before moving on to the curriculum development department of the Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC) in 1987 as a research officer/ test developer. Her colleagues at KNEC felt she wasn’t educationally qualified to hold the position of a test developer pushing her into enrolling for a Masters degree in Education at the Kenyatta University in 1990.

The Alliance Girls and University of Nairobi alumna later served as a senior lecturer in education at the Kenya Science Teachers College (KSTC) and as the acting Deputy Registrar & Director, Students’ Welfare Services Board at the Kenyatta University. She was also the editor of the African Journal of Public Administration and Management. In 2002, Margaret served as the Assistant Commission Secretary at the Commission for Higher Education, later renamed the Commission for Higher Education. It was her appointment in 2005 as the Director of the ailing Kenya Institute of Administration, now the Kenya School of Government, that really showcased her prowess at management and handling pressure. She incorporated the re-imaging and restructuring of the institution turning it into a world class institution that even the South African government modeled their school from Kenya.

She holds various awards including the Order of the Grand Warrior (OGW), the first class order of the Chief of the Burning Spear (CBS) and the CAPAM Gordon Draper Award of 2010. Margaret was in 2014 elected as the vice president of the Commonwealth Association for Public Administration and Management (CAPAM).

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