Chop courses for staff to survive, universities told

Education CS Amina Mohammed with Form Four students at Mama Ngina Secondary School in Mombasa, minutes before they began writing their KCSE examinations on Monday. [Edward Amaya, Standard]
Public universities have been directed to streamline academic programmes and make good use of available resources to mitigate funding gap.

Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed advised against haphazard investments and setting up of satellite campuses.

Dr Amina wondered why universities continued to mount many programmes, some which do not attract students and others that do not align to national development goals.

In a candid address to vice-chancellors of public universities, Amina called for a paradigm shift in institutions’ management.

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She spoke in a meeting convened by Ministry of Education and Commission for University Education to lobby members of the Parliamentary Budget and Education and Research Committees on funding crisis.

The CS said universities must now rationalise programmes and admit students to courses that will impact the economy.

Strong case

“We must now do this and admit students that we can sustain. Do not admit more than you can sustain,” said Amina.

In their presentation, Report on public universities financing and budgeting, dated November 2, 2018, VCs said the staff to student ratio had risen to between 1:80 and 1:100, beyond the recommended range of 1:15 and 1:18.

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“The huge financial crisis has pushed universities to expand classes and reduce practical classes to bridge the funding gap,” the VCs said.

Amina, however, said she would only put a strong case for universities for adequate funding in Parliament and to the Cabinet if the managers come up with clear recommendations to better the higher education.

“Give me that report in two weeks and we shall relieve some of the pain for you,” she said.

During this year’s admissions, public and private universities declared a combined capacity of 160,000. However, the total number of students who scored the minimum university entry grade of C+ and above were only 69,000.

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