Economy

Court stops UoN’s plan to raise fees

University of Nairobi officials

University of Nairobi council chair Julia Ojiambo, Vice-Chancellor Stephen Kiama (centre) and council member Marie Rarieya (right) during a press conference announcing changes in governance structure, July 9, 2021. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG

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Summary

  • The High Court has stopped the University of Nairobi (UoN) management from implementing new fees for doctors pursuing master’s degrees until all stakeholders are consulted.
  • The university more than doubled fees for postgraduate courses and parallel degrees to ease a cash crunch as a result of a dip in student enrolment.
  • Students pursuing medicine were to part with Sh3.8 million for the five-year course, up from Sh2.35 million, beginning August.

The High Court has stopped the University of Nairobi (UoN) management from implementing new fees for doctors pursuing master’s degrees until all stakeholders are consulted.

Although Justice Anthony Mrima rejected the claim by Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists’ Union (KMPUD) that the fees were “astronomical and beyond the reach of many Kenyans”, he agreed with the union that there was no public participation before the university increased the new fees.

“In the end, there is no difficulty in holding that the 2nd Respondent violated Articles 10(2)(a) and 201 of the Constitution for failure to undertake sufficient public participation before the preparation of the Differentiated Unit Cost Criteria (DUC),” the judge said.

The university more than doubled fees for postgraduate courses and parallel degrees to ease a cash crunch as a result of a dip in student enrolment.

Students pursuing medicine were to part with Sh3.8 million for the five-year course, up from Sh2.35 million, beginning August.

For those pursuing liberal arts master’s courses like communications and MBA, the fee was increased to more than Sh600,000 for a two-year programme from an average of Sh275,000, reflecting an increase of 118 percent.

The union challenged the new fee saying most of its members, who are studying medicine (pre-clinical and clinical), dentistry, and pharmacy would be affected because the fees had been raised threefold.

In the judgment, Justice Mrima said the Universities Funding Board admitted that it only consulted some stakeholders in the process of coming up with the DUC.

“Apart from the selected few, the rest of the public was not reached out. Whereas I fully agree that the stakeholders who were consulted in the process of coming up with the DUC deserved such opportunities, the nature and effect of the DUC called for a more elaborate and robust mode of involving the rest of the public,” the Judge said.

The Jjudge, however, said the Union failed to demonstrate how the upwards review of the fees curtails the right to highest attainable health care.

Justice Mrima said the need for revision of the fees is inevitable.