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Kenyatta University

If the proposals of the presidential working group on education policies are to be adopted, then students at public institutions throughout Kenya might be required to pay higher tuition costs in order to continue their studies.


The taskforce, which presented its summary to President William Ruto last week, has also recommended a slew of assessments designed to improve the quality of higher education in the country.

 


The second interim report, which concentrates on higher education and the changes that are required to make it stronger and more accessible, takes a comprehensive dive into this sector's finances in order to provide more context for its discussion.


The working group recommends that the tuition costs paid by government-sponsored students at Kenyan institutions be increased by a factor of three, from the existing level of Ksh. 16,000 each semester to Ksh. 52,000.


Although the taskforce is lobbying for the price hike, it is also urging the government to improve its support of education at the tertiary level, which, at the moment, falls short of the requirements set out by the institutions.


There will be a shortfall in funding for public institutions of around Ksh. 164 billion from the 2018–2019 academic year all the way through the 2022–2023 academic year.


The situation is somewhat better for private institutions, which suffered a budget shortfall of Ksh. 56.96 billion during the same time period.


The paper argues that the government should also wipe off the enormous debts that institutions owe to state authorities. These obligations presently total Ksh. 56.13 billion and include deductions for PAYE, pension, NHIF, and NSSF, amongst other things.


In addition to addressing concerns over finance, the study makes recommendations on how governance at universities might be strengthened. One of these recommendations is that the positions of chancellor that are vacant at 28 universities be addressed.


The group believes that the president should continue to be the authority in charge of choosing chancellors, but that the advice of the Cabinet Secretary for Education as well as the Senate of the institution should be solicited.


In addition, it requests that the government work toward the goal of increasing the number of students enrolled in colleges that train teachers.


At the moment, enrollment in these colleges stands at a pitiful 14.7%, which is equivalent to 3,922 students enrolled across 34 institutions that have a capacity of 26,650 students.


In addition, the taskforce desires the government to increase the space available for technical and vocational training by establishing such institutes all over the country.


Specifically, they want there to be a National Polytechnic in every county, a Technical Vocational College in every constituency, and a Vocational Training Center in every ward of the country.


There has been no general reaction to the findings included in the study from either the President or the Ministry of Education.


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