Education experts have come out guns blazing to oppose the new university funding model announced by President William Ruto on Wednesday at the foot of State House in Nairobi.
This comes after President Ruto said only needy and deserving students will be funded by the State to pursue degree, diploma and certificate courses in universities and TVET institutions, while those from relatively well-to-do families will have to foot university fees by themselves.
“For the first time, students whose families are at the bottom of the pyramid shall enjoy equal opportunity in accessing university and TVET education. Their households shall not make any contribution towards the education of their children,” he said.
However, educational experts now say the President’s new model lacks practicability and may not succeed, with Ken Echesa saying the new model will end up crippling universities even further.
“The government has committed to fund 53% of university education, chances are it may end up funding 10% or 7% and this is what will cripple universities because government funding will not be forthcoming”, he said.
“Parents will be unable to meet the high cost of education, professors will not be paid and the university education is going to collapse.”
The education law expert argued that the new model is discriminative and is prone to abuse by those responsible to implement it.
“In our present system and setup, this model is highly discriminative and is prone to abuse. The government is making a very serious and ambiguous program of funding university education that is student-centered and it has not paid JSS teachers for three months. How possible is this?” He posed.
“President Ruto is shifting the problem of funding university education to parents he is overtaxing.”
Universities Academic Staff Union (UASU) National Vice Chairperson Cyprian Ombati also faulted the new model saying those who will benefit from it will not be students from humble backgrounds.
“I can tell you for sure that those who are going to benefit will not be really students from poorer homes. We should have a criteria that will work for all students,” Ombati said.
President Ruto believes that the new model will motivate universities and TVET institutions to raise and generate more funds and enhance the quality of education.
“With the new funding model, universities and TVETS will be motivated to raise additional resources and to enhance the quality of education so as to attract more students,” Ruto said.
The model of funding will begin in the next financial year and will see 173,127 students joining universities and 145,325 students joining TVET institutions benefit.