Time to review public varsity funding model


Maseno University first-year students take a selfie with Vice Chancellor Julius Nyabundi during the freshers’ orientation day on September 22, 2022. PHOTO | TONNY OMONDI | NMG

It is time to get the funding model in public universities right to alleviate the cash crisis that threatens to ground their operations.

Currently, the universities are funded by the government and students' fees.

A biting cash crunch in the institutions has been linked to shrinking per capita budgetary allocation despite the growing enrolment of government-sponsored students, forcing them to seek a Sh2.4 billion World Bank bailout.

Unpaid salaries, wages, retirement benefits, and medical cover rose to Sh38.46 billion in the last financial year ending June 2022.

Disgruntled employees, going without salaries for months, are unlikely to offer quality services to the students.

Education experts, including those at the University Funding Board, have recommended a cost-sharing funding model where relatively well-to-do families pay while the government supports the needy students.

With the 42 institutions of higher learning set to receive a record number of students this year, further straining their operations, the government should change tack to address the perennial funding crisis.