Private universities have demanded a share of government-sponsored students.
The institutions said that the government-sponsored students (commonly known as regular students) should to be placed in all universities including the private ones.
The Kenya Association of Private Universities (Kapu), in a memo to Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i, said their demands were in line with ministry regulations and set requirements.
“All universities and colleges were invited to become members (of the universities placement agency) and were required to pay a membership fee of Sh100,000. At the moment, two private universities’ Vice-Chancellors are board members of Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service,” says the memorandum dated December 16, 2015.
A total of 67,790 government-sponsored students joined the 31 public universities in September last year.
According to the private universities, even after attending several placement services stakeholders meetings and submitting a list of courses and enrolment capacities of different institutions, the agency has continued to place students only in public universities and colleges.
“The failure to implement the letter and spirit of the Universities Act, 2012, limits access to university education and goes against the spirit of equity,” adds the memo.
Private universities also raised their concerns following an increase in course accreditation charges by the Commission for University Education (CUE) which regulates university education.
They argued that the move frustrates the efforts of private universities to grow programmes and increase access to education.
Effective this year, CUE has increased programme accreditation from Sh160,000 to Sh640,000, while programme audit has gone up to Sh640,000 from Sh160,000.
An institutional accreditation visit will now cost Sh1.8 million up from Sh600,000 while accreditation of one extension campus, which was free, will now cost Sh300,000.
Universities will also pay for quality assurance for their students in which undergraduate students will pay Sh1,000, post-graduate will pay Sh1,500 and doctorate students will pay Sh2,000.
Private universities now want the new and the increased charges withdrawn until exhaustive consultations have been done with the relevant stakeholders.
They have warned that the increased charges will lead to increase in schools fees, which is against the objective of students’ access and equity as stated in the Ministry of Education Sessional Paper 14, 2012.
However, CUE Chairman Henry Thairu attributes the increase to the government’s move towards more cost-sharing and reduction of capitation to public institutions as the reason for the increase.