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Education CS makes u-turn on funding of public universities

Kenyans feared that the cost of university education could go through the roof.

Education Cabinet Secretary nominee Ezekiel Machogu when he appeared before MPs for vetting on October 21, 2022

Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu has refuted claims that he said that the government would stop funding public universities amid a cash crunch that has affected many tertiary institutions.

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He reiterated that the government would continue to provide capitation to public universities, which is in contrast with statments he made over the weekend.

Nobody ever said that university funding will be done away with. The government is supporting universities and will continue to support them through capitation," he said on Tuesday.

However, last week, during a visit to the Dedan Kimathi University of Technology in Nyeri County, he urged tertiary institutions to generate their revenue to fund the operations and academic programs.

He called on public institutions of higher learning to embrace research innovation and technology to generate income.

I'm going to move around each and every university in Kenya because a number of our universities are faced with problems, particularly finance. You get them complaining about underfunding and we are encouraging that they must generate their own revenue,” he said.

CS Machogua added that as it stands, the National Treasury is not able to provide any more funding.

"The ex-chequer as it stands now will not be able to continue funding more," he said.

He disclosed that in Kenya, the education sector gobbles up 25.9 % of the annual budget.

Public universities have now turned to the World Bank as they seek Sh2.4 billion to prevent them from collapsing, following the acute shortage of funds.

A grant request has been submitted to the World Bank by the Universities Fund (UF) to solve the funding shortfall.

According to the agency, the request is part of its effort to mobilize resources to supplement government funding.

We have made a Sh2.4 billion grant request to the World Bank as part of our alternative resource mobilisation activities,” UF CEO Geoffrey Monari told Business Daily.

Colleges and universities are struggling to meet obligations such as payroll taxes, retirement benefits, and employee insurance premiums.

For example, to sustain the 145,145 who joined universities in 2022, the institutions require Sh32.6 billion, but the government has only provided Sh12.5 billion.

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