Broke universities advised to 'hustle' to raise income

Facilities such as accommodation rooms, laundry, coffee houses and cafeterias to be open to the public.

In Summary
  • The Ministry of Education has asked universities to explore internal income generating ideas.
  • The government will support staff and institutions that present a viable workplan on their sustainability.
Kenyatta University
Kenyatta University

Cash-strapped public universities will use their facilities to generate income.

Most of the institutions are operating on deficits and do not submit statutory deductions. The Ministry of Education has asked them to explore internal income-generating ideas.

According to a report submitted to Parliament, the government will support staff and institutions that present a viable work plan on their sustainability.

Facilities like accommodation rooms, laundry, coffee houses, cafeterias and other services will be open to the public.

“Registration and commercialisation of patents is another way of monetising transformative research and addressing budgetary shortfalls,” the report reads.

For instance, the University of Nairobi has property but cited financial challenges. Vice chancellor Kiama Gitahi said he’s working towards inviting partners to invest in the resources.

“We are discussing with the Treasury to get partners that will help us turn those properties into money-making resources,” Prof Kiama told the Star.

In its report, the Universities Fund proposes that universities consider public-private partnerships to reduce costs.

Broke universities infographic
Broke universities infographic
Image: The Star

The ministry further advises universities to operate within their means, below the capitation they receive.

There are about 30,000 workers in public universities, meaning a huge part of university funds are spent on salaries.

The government has proposed retrenchment as one of the measures to manage the financial crisis. The National Treasury had approved the layoff as one of the solutions to addressing the deficits.

Auditor General Nancy Gathungu declared more than 11 public universities insolvent and unable to meet their short-term obligations in the financial year 2018-19.

The UoN had the biggest wage bill of Sh8.7 billion, followed by Kenyatta University (Sh5.6 billion) and Moi University at Sh4.69 billion, according to recent audit reports.

The Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology did not pay for auditing services since 2014 and owed the Auditor General's office almost Sh17.4 million as of June 30, 2019.


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