TOUGH TIMES

Treasury slashes Sh16.7bn from universities' funding

The institutions will receive Sh77.7 billion compared to Sh94.4 billion last year.

In Summary

• Treasury CS Ukur Yatani on Thursday said that university heads will meet in July with a view of addressing the funding problem.

• In 2019, Education CS George Magoha proposed the institutions cut size of non-teaching staff among other changes to reform the management of universities.

Students at the University of Nairobi.
Students at the University of Nairobi.
Image: UoN

Universities have lost Sh16.7 billion in funding compared to last year, with Treasury proposing Sh77.7 billion in this year's budget.

In the last financial year, universities were allocated Sh94.4 billion. 

The funding cut is no surprise the as IMF had singled public universities as a sector of the economy that needed to reduce spending when it gave Kenya a recent loan facility. 

The reduction in funding will further cripple operations at universities that have struggled to pay staff wages and remit statutory deductions.

As of January, public universities had not remitted statutory deductions worth Sh34 billion.

Moi, Egerton, Technical University of Kenya and the University of Nairobi had the highest default bills on remittances. 

Treasury CS Ukur Yatani on Thursday said that university heads will meet in July to discuss how to fix the funding problem.

In 2019, Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha asked universities to reduce non-teaching staff and reform management to cut costs. 

“Cost-sharing in public university was introduced in 1991, and the cost of training was Sh120,000… currently the ideal cost of training a university student has risen to Sh200,000,” Yatani said.

More money has been pumped into primary and secondary schools. The Treasury proposed Sh4.2 billion for primary and secondary schools' infrastructure.

Yatani said the government hoped schools and colleges will overcome the Covid-19 outbreak that disrupted in-person teaching and learning.

“The government is determined to ensure the time lost is recovered in appropriate time while ensuring safe learning in schools,” he said.

The Treasury has proposed Sh202.8 billion to support programmes in the education sector.

Secondary schools received Sh62.2 billion for Free Day Secondary Education from Sh59.4 billion in the previous year.

Free Primary Education got Sh12 billion, while Sh2.5 billion was set aside for hiring more teachers.

Examination fees waiver for Standard 8 and Form 4 candidates will cost the Treasury Sh4 billion as another Sh1.8 billion goes to the school feeding programme. 

The implementation of the new curriculum to Grade 5 in July was boosted with Sh1 billion. 

The digital literacy programme got Sh420 million and technical and training institutes received Sh1.8 billion for equipment and buildings. 

The Teachers Service Commission received Sh281.7 billion while the Higher Education Loans Board will get Sh15.8 billion.

 

(edited by o. owino)