, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 14 – The government has announced plans to review its funding criteria to public universities to base it on the cost of specific courses, with priority given to those in line with attainment of Vision 2030.
Higher Education Minister William Ruto announced on Monday that the new criteria will see the State concentrate on professions that are key drivers of the economy. He also said the Ministry would consider more funding to courses that will help the government attain its economic blueprint.
“The Commission for Higher Education in consultation with public universities will now agree on the new criteria that must bring on board unit costs for all the courses that are taken by our universities,” he said.
Mr Ruto said government grants and other forms of capitation will be allocated according to the number and type of courses being offered as well as according to the number of students per university.
“We have realised that all courses don’t cost the same,” he said adding that further discussions will be carried out over the review.
The Monday meeting with officials of public and private universities came up with key agreements to improve education standards in the country.
Reducing ICT costs for universities with an aim of promoting e-Learning was also a key area they discussed.
He said public universities would benefit from tax exemption for the building of infrastructure.
During the meeting, it was also resolved that public and private universities would come up with proposals that would reduce the two years students have to wait to be admitted to universities.
Ethnicity was identified as a key concern especially in constituency universities and Mr Ruto said a policy would be developed to deal with it.
“There is an issue of ethnicity in our universities. The figures are serious. Universities are centres of excellence, unfortunately for very many reasons, the problem of ethnicity has crept into the institutions of higher learning, it is an issue we have to deal with,” he said.
He announced that the government was working on opening The Kenya Open University by next year. The university, the Minister said would be fully fledged and will go a long way in enhancing higher education in the country apart from absorbing more students.
He agreed that Kenya’s enrolment rates to universities were still very low compared to other countries in sub-Saharan Africa with Kenya absorbing below five percent.
Although the Minister appreciated the role played by tertiary level institutions, he said all institutions must be in line with local and international standards to ensure education is not compromised. He said the government will crack down on sub standard colleges by end of this week
Kenya has seven fully fledged public universities and 13 private universities.