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EDITORIAL: Universities must be lean and efficient

Public universities must cut their cloth according to size and do away with excess baggage to remain afloat

In Summary

• Moi vice chancellor Prof Isaac Kosgey says recurrent expenditure such as the wage bill, gobbles 70 per cent of the budget, leaving little for development.

• Own source revenue in universities has shrank, while government support is inadequate. 

Moi University main campus at Kesses in Eldoret
SACK DISPUTE: Moi University main campus at Kesses in Eldoret
Image: MATHEWS NDANYI

The announcement by Moi University that it plans to cut down its bloated staff has elicited stiff opposition from trade unions.

Vice chancellor Prof Isaac Kosgey last week issued an internal memo, saying this was inevitable to save the university from collapse. 

According to Kosgey, the recurrent expenditure such as the wage bill, gobbles 70 per cent of the budget, leaving little for development.

Own source revenue in universities has shrank, while government support is inadequate. 

Moi University's situation is not isolated as many other public varsities are in a similar situation.

According to the Office of the Auditor-General, most public universities owe more than their assets and are struggling to sustain operations.

The latest report from the Treasury shows Moi, Egerton and Kenyatta universities had deficits of Sh1.7 billion, Sh1.3 billion and Sh2.1 billion respectively for the 2020-21 financial year.

Jkuat and the University of Nairobi had Sh1.4 billion and Sh2.1 billion in deficits respectively over the same period.

Public universities must cut their cloth according to their size and do away with excess baggage to remain afloat.

The unions must appreciate that the restructuring is a life-saving operation to get the institutions out of ICU.

What they need to fight for is a fair and transparent process and ensure those sent home are paid all their dues.