Education CS Ezekiel Machogu has come out to clarify that the government will not stop funding public universities following a backlash over his recent remarks on the subject.
Machogu says his remarks during an event held at Dedan Kimathi University last week were taken out of context assuring that the funding for higher education had been ringfenced.
“The government has allocated a capitation of Sh50 billion for university education and another Sh15.8 billion to the Higher Education Loans Board,” Machogu said on Tuesday.
He added: “And I want to assure our universities that their Sh50 billion and the other Sh15 billion to the Higher Education Loans Board is ringfenced and nobody is interfering with that money.”
The new CS assured public universities and students that the ongoing cost-cutting measures being taken by the President William Ruto administration will not affect their funding at all.
“Even the cost-cutting measures that are being undertaken with the other sectors of the economy, for education, all the funds, as allocated by Parliament, are ringfenced,” he said.
He allayed fears created by his recent remarks to the effect that the government will cut funding to public universities and challenging the institutions to seek alternative cash sources.
“I want to make a clarification. Nobody said that university funds are going to be done away with. No, I think it’s better we get the entire story. For those who were in Dedan Kimathi (University), what we said is, yes, the government is supporting universities and the government will be able to continue supporting universities through capitation and infrastructural funds that government does support universities each and every year, and that is clearly manifested in the Kenya Kwanza manifesto,” the new Education CS added.
Machogu said the Kenya Kwanza government is committed to funding higher education as captured in its Education Charter, and called for research funding to be increased from 0.8 to 2 per cent.
He, however, challenged the public universities to also get creative and seek other sources of funding to complient the funds they receive from the national government every year.
“So, our universities, relax. Get assured that the government will continue the way it has been doing over the years to fund our universities but we are asking, and this is what we agreed when I was at Dedan Kimathi University, that if there are other ways we can be able to generate income for our universities, why not?,” he posed.
He went on: “Because universities are also supposed to indulge in research and innovation. And for sure, there are some universities which are doing research and innovation and in so doing they are generating a lot of revenue. And what we are saying is that we can also explore other ways of generating income, other streams of revenue.”
He concluded: “That is what we said, and government will never stop funding universities.”