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EMPTY LECTURE HALLS

State to sponsor more students to private varsities

Section of lawmakers questions why public resources are used to enrich private entities

In Summary

•Universities declared more empty slots than number of students who qualified.

•Six private varsities will admit more than 1,000 state-sponsored students.

University Education PS Collet Suda with UoN council chairman Idle Farah at a past graduation ceremony.
University Education PS Collet Suda with UoN council chairman Idle Farah at a past graduation ceremony.
Image: PATRICK VIDIJA

Private universities will admit more government-sponsored students this year compared to last year. 

This comes even as empty lecture rooms await public universities after this year's admission fell short of the declared capacity. 

Official government placement data reveals that more slots were declared available by both private and public universities against the number of students who qualified for further studies. 

 

However, of major concern is the government move to share students who qualified between public and private universities, with some private entities getting more state-sponsored students than public universities. 

This has further widened unoccupied slots in public universities. 

This year, public universities declared 109,918 spaces available. 

Some 89,486 students who sat last year's KCSE exam have been listed to join public and private universities. 

The institutions have been affected by the collapse of the self-sponsorship programme that acted as a substitute for the state-sponsored students, which they used to raise revenue. 

Public universities secured 71,764 students even as a low number of students qualified to get the cutoff mark of C+ and above in this year's admission. 


A section of graduands during the 6th graduation ceremony at Kabarak University.
A section of graduands during the 6th graduation ceremony at Kabarak University.
Image: BEN NDONGA

This means that 38,152 slots (35 per cent) in the public institutions remain vacant.

Private universities, on the other hand, will admit 17,722, up from last year's 12,656.Education PS Colleta Suda with UoN council chairman Idle Farah. 


This has opened the possibility of discontinuing President Uhuru Kenyatta's directive to place state-sponsored students into private universities. 

Issuing the directive in 2016, President Kenyatta said the move would provide a chance for more students to pursue courses of their choice. 

This is a boost for the private institutions even as a section of lawmakers question why public resources are used to enrich private entities. 

It further opens a debate as to why special attention is given to higher learning institutions while private institutions at the basic education level do not enjoy the same luxury of capitation provided to learners in public primary and secondary schools. 

However, University Education PS Collet Suda defends the move to admit students in private institutions.

"There are no private students in the country; all students are equal and so if they wish to pursue their degree in a private institution then why not?" Suda asked yesterday.

Mount Kenya University will admit 2,883 state-sponsored students, which is the highest number in this placement exercise. 

Kabarak University will admit 2,252 students, KCA - 1,824, Catholic University of Eastern Africa-1,269 and the  Kenya Methodist University-1,092.

Zetech University will admit 1,085 students, closing the list of private institutions with over 1,000 students.

Analysis by the Star further reveals that the government will spend Sh1.24 billion each year to provide capitation to sustain the students until completion of their programmes. 

The government provides a flat rate of Sh70,000 annually to the learners as capitation on the courses they pursue.

There are no private students in the country; all students are equal and so if they wish to pursue their degree in a private institution then why not?
University Education Principal Secretary Collet Suda

This has opened the possibility of discontinuing President Uhuru Kenyatta's directive to place state-sponsored studentEducation PS Colleta Suda with UoN council chairman Idle Farah. s into private universities. 

Issuing the directive in 2016, President Kenyatta said the move would provide a chance for more students to pursue courses of their choice. 

This is a boost for the private institutions even as a section of lawmakers question why public resources are used to enrich private entities. 

It further opens a debate as to why special attention is given to higher learning institutions while private institutions at the basic education level do not enjoy the same luxury of capitation provided to learners in public primary and secondary schools. 

However, University Education Principal Secretary Collet Suda defends the move to admit students in private institutions.

Mount Kenya University will admit 2,883 state-sponsored students, which is the highest number in this placement exercise. 

Kabarak University will admit 2,252 students, KCA - 1,824, Catholic University of Eastern Africa-1,269 and the  Kenya Methodist University-1,092.

Zetech University will admit 1,085 students, closing the list of private institutions with over 1,000 students.

Analysis by the Star further reveals that the government will spend Sh1.24 billion each year to provide capitation to sustain the students until completion of their programmes. 

The government provides a flat rate of Sh70,000 annually to the learners as capitation on the courses they pursue.

(Edited by R.Wamochie)