Inequalities in higher education funding as UoN gets more funding

A University of Nairobi (UoN) student receives three times more in government subsidies as a student at the Machakos University College.

A University of Nairobi (UoN) student receives three times more in Government subsidies as a student at the Machakos University College, according to a new World Bank report. 

The report released last week highlights funding disparities in Kenya’s institutions of higher learning, and faults the present funding system for not being based on an objective and transparent funding model. 

Titled Improving Higher Education Performance in Kenya, the report observes that resource allocation is negotiated directly between the universities and the Treasury, reflecting historical trends, the fiscal situation and the influence of each university’s leadership team.

The World Bank report, based on per-student Government allocations in select public universities for the academic year 2017-18, found that the Government allocated Sh6.3 billion to UoN, which had a student population of 26,009. This means each student got an average of Sh242,000 in subsidies. But at the Machakos University College, which has a student population of 5,056, each student got Sh67,000 from the Sh340 million the institution got from the Exchequer.

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During the same period, Egerton University was given Sh2.8 billion. Each student out of the 15,223 is estimated to have got Sh184,000. And at the Technical University of Mombasa, each of the 4,520 students got an average of Sh170,000 from the Sh770 million allocated to the institution.

At Kenyatta University, which received Sh3.1 billion during the period under review, each student got Sh144,000. It was closely followed by Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), where each of the 21,462 students received Sh141,000 from the Sh1.7 billion allocated.

The Nairobi-based Technical University of Kenya, which has a population of 8,636, got Sh1.07 billion, meaning each student received an average of Sh124,000, while those at University of Eldoret got Sh77,000. The University of Eldoret had 14,275 student in 2017-18. The report says this system of resource allocation has several drawbacks.

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“From the Government’s viewpoint, the budget is not used as an instrument to ensure that the universities are aligned with the national development objectives of the country,” the report says.

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