Public universities have been advised to be innovative and come up with various ways of raising funds to support their programmes instead of relying on government funding and tuition fees.
Education, Science and Technology Cabinet Secretary Dr. Fred Matiang’i said that it was not tenable to adequately fund university education by raising tuition fees to fill budget deficits after government allocation.
Speaking in his office during the inauguration the Board of Trustees for Universities Fund, Matiang’i said increase of tuition fees will lock out many students from poor families.
The Cabinet Secretary who was accompanied by Higher Education Principal Secretary Prof. Colletta Suda said access to university education is a right for every Kenyan and hiking tuition fees will make higher education a privilege of the rich.
Recently, public universities said that increase of tuition fees is inevitable as the government allocation is inadequate to meet the cost of university education which has been going up.
Matiang’i called on the Board of Trustee members led by Prof. Kinandu Muragu (Chairman) to assist public universities in identifying innovative ways of funding education.
“Think widely, be innovative. Be bold and courageous to break new ground in university funding. There is no limit to innovation,” Matiang’i advised the Board of Trustee members. He said in every two students who join university, one is locked out due to lack of fees.
Matiang’i challenged the Board of Trustee members to assist universities to explore ways in which university admission for qualified students is not pegged on their ability to pay tuition fees and other charges.
He said universities should consider partnering with contractors in major government infrastructural projects as one of the innovative ways of funding. Matiang’i said such partnership in addition to creating addition revenue will also offer training opportunities to students.
Matiang’i called universities to bid for research opportunities in public and private institutions saying that there is no reason why universities do not compete with local and foreign firms for tenders worth millions of shillings yet they have capacity to carry out such studies.
The Cabinet Secretary urged the Board of Trustee members to work out ways in which the private sector can be brought on board in funding university education.
Muragu assured the Cabinet Secretary that the board of trustee members will engage universities and come up with innovative ways of funding university education.
“The solution to funding university education should neither be the exchequer nor the students through tuition fees. It’s time to think differently,” said Muragu.
The Board of Trustee members of Universities Fund who were appointed by the Cabinet Secretary through a gazette notice in December 2015 to serve for a three-year term are Prof. Muragu (Chairman), and Dr. James M. Mwanzia.
Others are Ms. Christine Wanjiku Tonui, Mr. Paul M. Muinde, Ms. Asenath Kenyanya Maobe, Ms. Magdalene Athiambo Ngala, and Ms. Dorcas Nthinga Mugambi.
The Universities Fund is established through the Universities Act to provide funding to universities.
By Boniface Muoka