Tough times ahead as push to review fees gains momentum

Thursday, December 3rd, 2020 00:00 |
Treasury PS Julius Muia.

Bernard Gitau @benagitau

University fees could rise sharply from the current Sh16,000 to Sh48,000 per academic year if the government accepts a proposal by public universities, aimed at cushioning them from the financial challenges they face.

Yesterday, Treasury PS Julius Muia urged the Ministry of Education to write a Cabinet memo to elaborate   the financial challenges universities encounter to pave the way for the fees hike. He said the memo should contain the proposal by the ministry and public universities to increase the fees.

Muia said the memo should also propose the revision of the Differentiated Unit Cost funding model, to capture other factors which were omitted from the current arrangement.

“Any proposed mitigating interventions to fund the university sector, should be made with a view to ensuring they are adequately funded, to support the infrastructural development  and critical core function of training and research,” the PS said. 

He spoke as the turf wars between public and private universities played out in the open, during a meeting between the parliamentary education committee, the Education ministry and public and private universities.

Vice-Chancellors Committee chair Geoffrey Muluvi, maintained that public universities, do not fully support the policy on placement of government sponsored students to private universities and should be reviewed. 

Prof Muluvi said Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (Kuccps), should also consider admitting government sponsored students to private universities once the capacity in public universities is filled.

Muluvi said money was being raised through Module II programme, but from 2015 through the reforms in Kenya National Examination Council, the number of students qualifying to go to universities went down, so universities cannot raise adequate funds to sustain their operations.

 But in a swift rejoinder, the Kenya Association of Private Universities chairman Kisau Mumo, who was also present at the session, dismissed the proposals saying it was in bad taste.

“I am surprised by Muluvi, he is having conflict of interest because he sits in Kuccps board and we are not sure whether his statement is made as a Vice Chancellor or as member of the board,’ said Prof Mumo.

He asked Muia to explain whether placement of students to private universities negatively impact public universities. 

At the moment, Mumo said about Sh2.5 billion is allocated to support government-sponsored students in private universities, yet public universities have a deficit of over Sh31 billion.

However, KUCCPS acting Chief Executive Mercy Wahome said that students, who are placed in private universities are given an equal opportunity to choose whether they want public or private universities.

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