Hope of new funding formula for public varsities
The government is working out a new funding formula for public universities.
Education ministry says the majority of institutions of higher learning are struggling to clear their pending bills and that some universities are unable to pay their bills amounting to Sh17 billion as they do not have adequate funds.
University Education and Research Principal Secretary Simon Nabukwesi yesterday said that there is a university with a pending bill of Sh5 billion.
“Pending bills for universities are estimated at about Sh17 billion, with the highest owing Sh5 billion.
Such can easily be auctioned,” said Nabukwesi when he met higher education stakeholders at Kenya School of Government (KSG) to discuss reforms in the sector.
Education Cabinet Secretary Prof George Magoha concurred on the need to relook at the funding formula, since the existing one has caused strain to universities.
“The funding formula is fatally flawed. The formula as being currently implemented is against the established universities and has to be relooked at,” he noted.
To explain the current funding formula being used, Nabukwesi said it is one that looks at the number of students in universities yet there more costly courses than others.
“We want to look at the faculties, courses offered, equipment and facilities needed. There are those that require laboratories or maybe workshops.
Others you just sit and listen. That is the difference. We want to look at all the needs required to produce someone in a particular course,” he explained.
He at the same time observed that there are also older lecturers who are at the apex of their professions, and therefore earn more money.
Statistics indicate that some institutions like University of Nairobi have 30 per cent of professors and will need more pay than the ones with fewer.
On proposed school fees guidelines that will see students pay more, Nabukwesi said it will take longer to implement as technical teams try to establish what will be adequate to make a university run because right now they are operating with huge pending bills.
The PS said focus will be made on governance and management of institutions of higher learning, which will include recruitment process and oversight.
He said they are seeking to formulate proposals for change while looking at funding in the spirit of cost sharing where the Government is giving capitation to universities while parents are paying Sh16,000 per student annually, which has been the case since 1989.
The reforms will also focus on the courses being offered in universities in terms of the quality and relevance in the sense that they create employable products.
On career development where students in secondary schools can be sensitised on courses they can undertake in universities and ensure their potential not only in the country but also globally to utilise skills and produce people who can serve humanity.