Three public universities will be the first higher learning institutions to benefit from construction of hostels under the public-private partnerships (PPP).
The first phase of the programme will see development of 25,000-bed capacity hostels in Moi University, Embu University and South Eastern University of Kenya (Seku).
The details of the deals emerged during a one-day investors conference on development of university hostels, which brought together more than 100 local and international investors.
Under the PPP agreement, Moi will boost its bed capacity by 15,000, Seku by 5,400 beds and Embu University College by 4,000 beds.
The investor conference cum pre-bid meeting follows issuance of request for qualification (RFQ) on December 11, last year, for start of competitive procurement.
The RFQ closes on February 28, after which the pre-qualified private firms will be invited to submit financial and technical bids for the projects.
Each project will be procured separately though prospective investors, who are allowed to bid for more than one project as long as they can demonstrate sufficient capacity to undertake them.
PPP Unit director Stanley Kamau said most public universities have expressed interest in developing various education facilities through the PPP model.
“The PPP model has attracted most public institutions in the country keen to attract private investment in a context of competing public needs. The PPP model is also preferred mainly due to its ability to tie in the operation and maintenance aspect of an infrastructure asset, meaning facilities developing are able to remain in a great condition for the entire life of the contract,” said Mr Kamau.
“If you’re at Moi for instance, when you add up the hostel capacity in the university and that developed by the private sector, there is still a huge demand, which we hope will be plugged through the PPP model,” said Moi University Deputy Vice Chancellor Nathan Ogechi.
According to the Education ministry, universities are facing a major bed capacity shortage, which is a hindrance to providing access to higher learning both within the public and private sector.