Public varsities set to lose billions over admissions

Friday May 19 2017

Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i speaks during the Commission for University Education

Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i speaks during the Commission for University Education exhibition at Catholic University of Eastern Africa on February 28, 2017. The government will be funding universities based on the courses they offer. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By OUMA WANZALA
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Universities across the country are set to miss out on billions of shillings they generate from privately sponsored students after all the available places were taken up by the 88,626 students who scored C+ and above during last year’s Form Four examination.

The universities are also set to lose more revenue as the government will be funding the universities based on the courses they offer and which could lead to institutions that offer mostly art related courses getting less funds.

REDUCED REVENUE

These developments have not been taken lightly by the institutions, which are now asking the government to increase funding while others are working on expanding the alternative revenue generation avenues.

Attempts to get figures of how much the universities will lose proved futile as none of them were willing to share the details, insisting that its confidential information.

However, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology vice-chancellor Mabel Imbuga recently said the decision will affect the revenues of universities across the country.

“We are going to lose money due to lack of students for module two,” Prof Imbuga said.

DEBT TO CUE
Already, the Commission for University Education has threatened to close institutions owing it hundreds of millions of shillings in quality control charges dating back to 2015.

At the moment, there are 70 universities with a total of 564,507 students and about two-thirds of these are self-sponsored in 35 public universities.

This year, Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service placed a total of 88,626 students in both public and private universities.

Out of these, a total of 17,368 will join private universities while 71,089 will join public institutions starting September.

PARALLEL PROGRAMMES
Public universities have spent massive resources, most of it borrowed, to set up hundreds of satellite campuses to cater for the demand for higher education, which has been surging each year.

In addition, they have hired hundreds of part-time lecturers to teach parallel programmes, which means that a majority of their jobs are at risk.

Universities Funding Board chairman Kiragu Muragu said the differentiated unit cost will be applied starting July.

University of Nairobi’s director of communication John Orindi said the phasing out of parallel programmes will affect universities.

But he said UoN has not yet been affected by the development.

SPONSORSHIP
A study titled Outlook of Higher Education Sector in Kenya sponsored by Madison Insurance and carried out by Breakthrough Consulting, revealed that a majority of universities, both public and private, admit more students in arts and humanities programmes compared to sciences.

However, Vice-Chancellors Committee chairman Francis Aduol said the admission of all students who scored C+ and above marked the end of parallel degree programmes in universities.

“This year there will be no module two students, it will have to transform or die but it has to die and I will be happy,” Prof Aduol said.

He went on: “It should be the right thing and our objective should be that all students should go to universities and get government sponsorship.”