ALTERNATIVE METHODS

New funding method causing cash crunch in varsities

DUC is pegged on the number of undergraduate students registered and courses they take

In Summary
  • UoN used to receive a capitation of Sh6.2bn per year, but since DUC was introduced, their capitation was reduced to Sh4.5bn.
  • UASU backed the increment of tuition fees by UoN but said the process should have been gradual.
UoN vice chancellor Stephen Kiama during an interview at UoN Towers on October 29
UoN vice chancellor Stephen Kiama during an interview at UoN Towers on October 29
Image: EZEKIEL AMING'A

The new funding method in universities this year caused varsities' management to seek alternative methods.

Reduced funding in universities caused a toll on their financial management across the year.

Government capitation to public universities is currently based on the differentiated unit cost (DUC) model.

DUC is pegged on the number of undergraduate students registered and courses they take.

Under the model, the government is expected to cater for 80 per cent of the unit cost.

The remaining 20 percent is to be achieved by students and institutions. 

UoN Vice-Chancellor Stephen Kiama noted that the institution has a problem with the DUC.

"We used to receive a capitation of Sh6.2bn per year, but since DUC was introduced, our capitation was reduced to Sh4.5bn," Kiama said during an interview with the Star.

As a result of DUC, UoN lost Sh1.7bn; this called for the adoption of other money-minting methods, he said.

The High Court stopped UoN management from implementing new fees for doctors pursuing master’s degrees until all stakeholders are consulted.

Justice Anthony Mrima rejected the claim by  KMPDU that the fees were “astronomical and beyond the reach of many Kenyans”.

Mrima agreed with the union that there was no public participation before the university increased the new fees.

University students requested the Higher Education Loan Board to consider increasing their funding. 

Kenya Universities Students Organization Chairman Anthony Manyara called for talks between student leaders and HELB to deal with the financial constraints.

Universities Academic Staff Union (UASU) backed the increment of tuition fees by the University of Nairobi.

Uasu organising secretary Onesmus Mutio, however, said the process should have been gradual.

Mutio said the decision was long overdue because public universities have lived with a major cash crisis for years.

The university more than doubled the fees for postgraduate courses and parallel degrees.

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

For master’s courses like communications and MBA, the fee was increased to more than Sh600,000.

This is for a two-year program from an average of Sh275,000, reflecting an increase of 118 percent.

KMPDU challenged the new fee saying most of its members, who are studying medicine, 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.

The Judge, 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.

The Ministry of Education engaged public universities’ management to narrow down their expenditure, in a quest to reduce their indebtedness.

This includes stopping duplicated courses and rationalizing the number of administrative posts and units.

Multimedia University Deputy Vice-Chancellor Paul Mbatia said most universities’ expenditure largely overhauls what Treasury allocates.