The Principal Secretary (PS) in the State Department for Higher Education and Research Dr. Beatrice Muganda Inyangala has explained that the Government is yet to make any decision on increasing tuition fees in public Universities.
Dr. Inyangala said stakeholders have presented their views on University fee increment to the Presidential working Party on Education Reforms but the committee is finalizing their report which will be presented to the President William Ruto this month.
“The President will then look at the recommendations and advice us in the Ministry accordingly,” she said.
Dr. Inyangala was speaking during the official Opening of the workshop on Quality Assurance (QA) for University Quality Assurance (UQA) directors and education quality coordinators officers in Naivasha on Monday
Last month, Universities proposed to increase fees from Sh.16, 000 to Sh.48, 000 for new government-sponsored students joining in September this year in order to deal with the financial crisis the institutions are facing. This raised an uproar by stakeholders saying this will make higher education to be out of reach for the ordinary Kenyan children.
If the proposal is implemented, continuing students will continue to pay the old fees until they complete their university education.
Meanwhile, the PS has urged public Universities to find homegrown solution to the thorny issue of funding in order to continue providing quality education to the citizenry.
Dr. Inyangala has called on authorities of the public varsities to be innovative and ensure they are creative and use locally available resources to provide quality education to the learners and at the same time source for funding from donors
“No government has been able to fund higher education alone, it requires multi-sectorial approach and partnership and that is why the Government has sourced for Sh.140Billion from United Kingdom (UK), a partnership that will see health related courses in the six public universities funded,” Inyangala said and expressed optimism that through partnership, the funding crisis at the public universities will be a thing of the past.
The PS observed that it is also vital to ensure that public universities are producing graduates who are fit, not only for our national development but also for global development.
“It is for this reason that the government continues to invest heavily in the education sector to ensure that we have the necessary infrastructure and resources to provide quality education to all,” she noted.
Inyangala said change is inevitable and called for a rethinking of our approach to education to ensure that the quality assurance systems at the institutions of higher learning were agile and adaptable to the rapidly changing needs of the labour market and society.
“The Kenya government recognizes that quality education is a critical driver of economic growth and social development and strong internal Quality assurance mechanisms,” the PS stated.
She observed that quality education is multi-dimensional as it encompasses the input-process-output in all aspects of core educational activities and called for concerted effort in ensuring the quality among others and quality of processes which include delivery of academic programmes, assessment and examinations among other academic issues.
A total of 562,000 students were enrolled in universities in Kenya as at the beginning of the 2021 /22 academic year. Public universities rely largely on government subsidies to run their operations. The government capitation, however, currently covers only 57 per cent of the learners, instead of the target of 80 per cent.
This financial year the National Treasury allocated only US$793 million (About sh.80Billion) for higher education. The universities had requested US$1.8 billion (about Sh.180Billion) from the government in their budget plans in order to be able to carry out their financial obligations.
By Mabel Keya-Shikuku