Stakeholders in private universities rejected President William Ruto’s and Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu’s proposal for a funding model for colleges and universities on Friday, May 12.
Stakeholders felt prejudiced against and disadvantaged by the idea of only financing public institutions.
“We have a right to enjoy our taxes. These taxes should be channeled to every student regardless of whether they are in public or private universities. All our efforts to fight for sponsorship of students in private universities by the government has not been appreciated,” argued Judy Chania from Machakos University.
They advocated for policies like those implemented by former Education CS Fred Matiang’i. During Matiangi’s tenure, the government looked at allowing state-funded students to enroll in public universities.
“This will be a temptation to the students. If they receive the money in their accounts, their first option may not be to pay fees,” she explained.
On May 3, Ruto introduced a new funding model intending to restrict public funds to public universities.
The Head of State promised that 38% and 55% of financially disadvantaged students would be awarded government scholarships to attend public universities.
The National Assembly Education Committee questioned the practice of sending taxpayer-funded students to private universities in March 2023.
The committee chair, Julius Melly, recommended that in the future, “any engagement between private universities and the government will only be based on policy, but there will be no admission of government-sponsored students in private universities.”
The committee claimed that the high admittance rate at public universities resulted from inadequate funding due to the government’s preference for funding private institutions.
On the other hand, the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS) clarified that the proposed university funding model would not impact the new posting model on Friday, May 12.
In addition, KUCCPS stated that students enrolled in private institutions would continue to receive government funding.