, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 16 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has given the go-ahead for the admission of 10,000 State-funded students in private universities.
The approval will see the enrolment of State-sponsored students in universities shoot to 84,389 given that the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service provides 74,389 slots in public universities.
Speaking Tuesday at State House, Nairobi, when he met vice chancellors and chairmen of university councils of both public and private universities, President Kenyatta said the move will provide a chance for more students to pursue courses of their choice.
Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i said his ministry will in the next intake increase the number to 20,000 students.
This is in line with law which requires taxpayer funded students who miss placement at the public universities be sponsored to join private universities, the Education Cabinet Secretary explained.
On management of higher institutions of learning, President challenged public universities to ensure transparency and accountability in the use of public resources.
On his part, National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) Chairman Francis Ole Kaparo faulted public universities and colleges for promoting ethnicity.
Kaparo decried the favouritism displayed by the higher education institutions where appointment of staff is pegged on ethnicity.
He said public universities and colleges must come up with program that will provide equal opportunities to Kenyans regardless of tribe, religion or race, saying the move will en entrench national unity and integration.
“Most public universities have violated the Constitution by basing employing staff based on ethnicity. This must stop. Public institutions cannot be allowed to breed tribalism,” said Kaparo.
President Kenyatta asked institutions of higher learning to play a leading role in entrenching national unity and integration.
“You must help us achieve the agenda of national unity. You are the people to set up that agenda,” said the President.
The Head of State said the proposed course on national unity and integration should be made compulsory.
Kaparo added that public universities have failed to comply with legal and constitutional requirements set by the Parliament on fostering national cohesion and integration as per the Constitution of Kenya.
Kaparo disclosed that NCIC has compiled a report which clearly shows only five universities have complied with the law on national cohesion.
He said ethnicity is so pervasive that it may warrant specific legislation to address it.
The NCIC Chairman pointed out that few public institutions are implementing or enforcing the provisions of the National Cohesion and Integration Act, noting that this could endanger the country’s future.
Responding to Kaparo, the vice chancellors supported measures aimed at curbing tribalism and negative ethnicity at higher institutions of learning.
Marist International University College Vice Chancellor, Dr Cyprian Gandeebo, said the greatest challenge facing Kenya is building national unity.
The university leadership said it would be a great tragedy for the educated in the country to continue perpetuating tribalism.
They agreed to come up with measures and programs that will promote character and national values.