EDITORIAL

Public universities must cut waste for affordable education

Kenyans have a right to affordable education, from primary to university level

In Summary

• The problem is that there is very little effort made to generate own-source revenues, despite huge entrepreneurial potential.

• The universities have departments that can engage in various income-generating projects to help boost their revenues and cut dependence on government.

University of Nairobi Vice Chancellor Stephen Kiama
MORE FEES: University of Nairobi Vice Chancellor Stephen Kiama
Image: COURTESY

The University of Nairobi recently increased tuition fees, sparking street demonstrations by a section of students.

Its justification for the hike is that it needs to raise funds for its operations and pay staff. For a long time, our public universities have depended on state funding and money raised from privately sponsored students to survive. When this dried up, they were left struggling.

The problem is that there is very little effort made to generate own-source revenues, despite huge entrepreneurial potential. The universities have departments that can engage in various income-generating projects to help boost their revenues and cut dependence on government.

Some have large parcels of land that are under-utilised, yet they buy food at exorbitant prices from tenderpreneurs. Their procurement departments have become dens of corruption that source supplies at astronomical amounts for kickbacks, leading to the draining of their meagre resources. To cover up for their mismanagement, they see raising fees as the easiest way out of their self-inflicted financial troubles.

Kenyans have a right to affordable education, right from primary to university level, if the country is to bridge the gap between the poor and the rich. Anything short of this will see only the children of the rich access university education, more so the specialised courses whose pricing will lock out many poor students.

Public universities must cut waste and be creative to keep education affordable.