University bosses to meet over funding crisis that's put them in Sh56bn debt

The inaugural event, organised by the Universities Fund, will be held at Pride Inn Flamingo Beach Resort in Mombasa County from February 23-24. Its theme is 'Universities for a Sustainable Future'.

The conference will discuss the Differentiated Unit Cost (DUC) model, which is used to inform the disbursement of funds to universities, with a view to reforming it to ensure sustainable financing of universities.

Mr Machogu underscored that the government is determined to tackle the crisis afflicting universities in order to promote stability and ensure the quality of education is not compromised.

"The Kenya Kwanza administration will do everything possible to institute measures to ensure the sustainability of our universities and end the existing financial crunch through various legislative, policy, and budgetary measures," he said briefly.

Machogu highlighted that the DUC funding framework had promoted integrity in the distribution and utilisation of funds by universities, calling for its enhancement.

"The journey towards the achievement of excellence in education started with the implementation of the DUC, which has created a transparent and accountable system of funding. This has set out the foundation for access to quality and relevant university education," he said.

The event comes at an opportune time when both public and private universities are grappling with insufficient financial income, forcing some to lay off workers and close down several campuses.

According to a report by the funding agency released in June last year, universities are collectively staring at pending bills worth Sh56 billion owed to staff and government agencies.

Universities have been battling with inadequate funds due to various issues including the reduction of money disbursed by the National Treasury, surging enrolment following the lowering of university entry grade to C+, and a low number of parallel students.

The situation is likely to worsen with more than 173,000 students who scored C+ and above during the 2022 KCSE examination expected to join various institutions this year.

Higher Education Principal Secretary Beatrice Inyangala underscored that transforming the higher education sector will help boost the country's socioeconomic status.

Dr Inyangala said: "Education in Kenya is recognised as a constitutional right for all citizens regardless of social or economic background. Against this backdrop, the State Department for Higher Education and Research is currently focused on transforming the higher education sector to increase access to quality and relevant education."