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Parliamentary committee on education visit public universities

The parliamentary education committee inspected projects in public universities in Tharaka Nithi and Meru counties, as mandated by standing orders and the constitution.

Addressing journalists at Meru University of Science and Technology, the committee chairman Mr Julius Melly said the major issues they were looking at included physical projects funded by the national exchequer, government programmes, and the way the institutions were implementing government policies.

According to Mr Melly, one of the programmes includes the accreditation of the programmes in the universities by the Commission of University Education (CUE) and the role of professional bodies in oversight of the particular programmes.

“We were also trying to find out the impact of the new university funding model in trying to enable the universities to have enough money to run their programmes and to reduce the huge pending bills that they have,” said Mr Melly.

He added that across the universities that they visited, the Vice Chancellors appreciated the funding model. Still, they pointed out some teething problems that came as a result of the model. Mr. Melly highlighted that students often report to universities without knowing their household’s financial situation, despite receiving scholarships and loans.

Delay in disbursement of the funds was also pointed out where only the first tranche has been released so far. Meanwhile, “We have also visited big projects and noted stalled lecture halls, theatres, and laboratories. If the fund from the new model will come in time and the exchequer releases the appropriated funds for those projects, then most of the universities will be able to offset the pending bills which they have,” said Mr Melly.

He said the committee will go on and write a report with recommendations on the interventions that need to be taken to support the universities, especially in terms of funds.

“The intention of the committee and the government is to ensure that the universities are out of the pending bills, the capital projects are completed, and there are no stalled projects in the institution,” said Mr Melly.

Lastly, he stated that Universities are innovative in revenue generation, and implementing revenue reigning measures can help address most of their issues.

By Dickson Mwiti

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