No increase in varsity fees, decares Magoha

Friday, December 4th, 2020 00:00 |
Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha inspects desks at Nyabururu Girls in Kisii county. Photo/PD/Evans Nyakundi

Evans Nyakundi and Philip Yegon

Education Cabinet Secretary Prof George Magoha yesterday allayed fears of a government plan to triple university fees from Sh16,000 to Sh48,000 per year.

Speaking at Kapsoit Day Mixed Secondary School in Ainamoi Constituency in Kericho county, where he went to check the progress of new desks, Prof Magoha observed that the university fees is a weighty matter that requires proper consultations lest it triggers tensions at the institutions.

He stated that the government could not “just wake up one morning and hike the fees” because it was mindful of parents who are reeling under the burden of footing school fees for their children.

“As far as I am concerned the government does not wake up and hike university fees four times.

We are yet to sit to consider and debate the issue. There’s a need for debate on the issue to reach a consensus. In fact, we need to engage all the stakeholders before taking any decision on the matter,” said Magoha.

“This is a Covid-19 period and therefore Kenyans are going through hard economic times.

I want to assure the parents that the Executive arm of the government is yet to sit, consider and debate the fees matter and decide that universities should charge high fees,” he added.

Magoha said the government is considerate and therefore, it will hold consultations on the matter.

He assured university students that the government has not hiked the fees, saying though discussions started in Parliament, the matter will still be subjected to further consultations.

“I have seen tension rising among university students over the fees matter, but I want to assure them that the government has not woken up and decided to hike the fees four times,” he stated.

Magoha’s sentiments were echoed by Education Chief Administrative Secretary, Zack Kinuthia, who dismissed the decision by universities to increase fees.

Kinuthia said the proposal lacks merit since there has only been limited consultation.

“It was not a wide consultative decision to reach this level and I see it will face challenges because as a government officer in the ministry, I have not seen those proposals and have not been involved whatsoever on such decisions,” said Kinuthia, who spoke separately.

Rise sharply

On Wednesday, Treasury Principal Secretary Julius Muia had hinted the fees charged by universities could rise sharply if the government accepts a proposal from the institutions of higher learning.

He urged the Education Ministry to write a cabinet memo to elaborate on the financial challenges universities are facing to justify the fees hike.

He said the memo should contain the proposal by the Ministry of Education and the public universities to raise fees.

Yesterday, Magoha called on parents and the management boards of secondary schools to discuss the issue of school fees payment when the institutions reopen in January to avoid cases where learners are sent home for lack of fees.  

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