CS Machogu backtracks on varsities funding plan
Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu yesterday backtracked on his pronouncement that the government will stop funding public universities.
The CS, while claiming he had been misquoted, declared the government, has allocated Sh50 billion for university education and another Sh15.8 billion for the Higher Education Loans Board (Helb) to support learners in public universities.
“I want to assure the public that the government will continue to support university education through regular exchequer support as well as building their support to raise more revenue through other revenue streams,” he said.
The CS said his statement regarding the matter at the weekend was taken out of context, noting that all he said was that respective universities should explore ways of generating its own revenue to supplement that from the government.
Machogu spoke at Kiambu Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) during the groundbreaking for the Project Promotion of Youth Employment and Vocational Training which is sponsored by the German government.
He was emphatic that there was no way university funding can be done away with.
“The government will continue supporting public universities and colleges. I was misquoted by the media. Relax and get assured that the government will continue funding them,” he said.
He, however, said that universities should approach and explore other avenues of raising their own money such as in research and innovation.
“Respective universities should major in research and innovation beside other areas to generate more fund to bridge the gap,” he said.
The CS had last week caused a storm when he said that the governmnet will no longer fund public universities and colleges and instead called on them to explore other ways of generating revenue.
He was quoted as saying that the move would be necessitated by the fact that the exchequer is no longer able to fund the same owing to the fact that education currently consumes 25.9 per cent of the national budget.
The statement elicited sharp reactions with parents, students and the general populace terming the same as the beginning of the end of access to education by learners from humble backgrounds.
On Monday, the Universities Academic Staff Union (UASU) condemned the move and prevailed upon the CS to clarify his weekend statement.
UASU National Secretary Constantine Wasonga said that the remarks had caused the union and education stakeholders sleepless nights.
He asked Machogu to clarify whether his remarks were a government policy or a mere roadside declaration.
During the ground breaking ceremony, the CS said that KIST will be transformed into a national polytechnic.
The CS was flanked by Germany Ambassador to Kenya Sebastian Groth, TVET Principal Secretary Margaret Mwakima, who said that the Sanitary making plant project will create job opportunities.
A total of Sh4 billion will be used to construct the facility.
"Versities to respond to high demand promptly and effectively,” he said.