Exploring solutions to challenges affecting public universities

March 27, 2023 | 12:37 pm

A key meeting involving stakeholders in the education sector met and discussed the current state of public universities in Kenya with the objective of apprising the Ministry of Education and stakeholders on emerging issues impacting the affordability and fiscal sustainability of the wage bill of public universities, equity and fairness, transparency, and accountability.


Present at the consultative meeting included SRC, led by Chairperson Lyn Mengich; Ezekiel Machogu, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Education; Josephat Nanok, State House Deputy Chief of Staff; Amb. Anthony Muchiri, Chairperson, Public Service Commission; Dr. Beatrice Muganda, Principal Secretary, State Department for Higher Education and Research; Phillip Mung’ony, Chairperson, State Corporation Advisory Committee (SCAC); and Simon Indimuli, CEO, SCAC.


The meeting, held on 15 March 2023, at the Kenya School of Government in Nairobi, also discussed other pertinent issues affecting public universities. These included, the wage bill to total revenue ratio and the measures to manage the wage bill, financial performance, collective bargaining agreements, and ways of streamlining allowances.


“Higher education in Kenya is characterised by major issues that trace back to inadequate funding, hence, the need for universities to actively seek for alternative funding to boost their revenues through contract research, partnerships, talent development, innovations, consultancies and other income generating activities,” said Lyn Mengich.


On his part, Ezekiel Machogu highlighted that the currently, government capitation covers approximately 57 per cent of students, instead of the targeted of 80 per cent. “This amount is largely used for recurrent expenditure, and little is left to improve the quality standards, leading to insufficient staffing and lackluster physical resources and infrastructure,” he said.


“Amidst the financial constraints, the government, through the Commission for University Education (CUE), has continued to mainstream quality assurance practices in universities by encouraging improvement in the quality of university education in Kenya,” said Josephat Nanok.


Speaking during the session, Simon Indimuli noted; “to encourage a more effective way of utilising the available public resources prudently among universities, the government could consider pegging performance to budgeting.” He further expounded that this would provide financial incentives for improved financial management by universities.


The meeting marked a major starting point to addressing challenges facing public universities. Other SRC Commissioners in attendance included, Commissioners Nelly Ashubwe, John Monyoncho, Abdiwahab Abdullahi Abdi, Wangui Muchiri, Sophie Moturi and Dr. Leah Mumbua, as well as Anne Gitau, CS/CEO.

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