MPs want the new varsity funding model shelved

University funding
Nyando MP Jared Okello /File Photo

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Members of Parliament want the Ministry of Education to do away with the new university funding model disbanded and revert to the previous capitation model where learners paid as little as Ksh16, 000 per year for degree courses.

In the new model students will get funded through scholarships and bursaries.

Nyando MP Jared Okelo while speaking in parliament yesterday, said the new model puts lots of students at a disadvantage as there are no set criteria on who qualifies for either scholarships or bursaries yet the universities have hiked the fees up to Ksh258, 000 per year.

“This House has what it takes to rewind and bring back the capitation. We have been used to paying between Ksh16, 000 and Ksh35, 000 a year that is affordable.

The amounts of fundraisers that are being organised now by university students are mind-boggling.

If this is left unattended, I can assure you, less than 20 per cent of our students are going to report to colleges,” he said.

The lawmaker added that under the scrapped capitation model of funding, there was a level of certainty that students would receive the funds, but that has since been left at the discretion of the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) and ministry officials.

“If we do not act as a House, I’m afraid we are going to lose so many brains that ought to have been plugged into classrooms that are going to be languishing out here.

I do not want to see a situation where we register several suicide cases that cannot access university education,” Okelo said.

At the same time, Gilgil MP Martha Wangari called for the new model to be subjected to public participation.

Wangari said students who used to survive on Ksh20, 000 in high school are finding it hard to raise hundreds of thousands of shillings to be able to pursue university courses.

“Right now, they have quotations and invoices of Ksh300, 000, 400,000 for courses. This model needs better public participation and this House needs to lead that process,” she said.

National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang’ula said he will commit the concerns raised by MPs over the new funding model to the Education committee chaired by Julius Melly.

President William Ruto unveiled the new university and TVETs funding model on May 3.

He said it was aimed at primarily benefiting students from extremely poor backgrounds.

By Vostine Ratemo

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