Universities debt stands at Sh77b, Machogu says

Education CS Ezekiel Machogu and Egerton University Chancellor Dr Narendra Raval pose for a photo with a section of graduands during the institution's 47th graduation ceremony on October 27, 2023. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

The public universities' debt has hit over Sh77 billion, Education CS Ezekiel Machogu has announced. 

Speaking while presiding over the 47th Graduation Ceremony at Egerton University, Machogu attributed the debt to harsh economy and mismanagement of the universities. 

Machogu regretted that the debt had been accumulating in the last decade but amicable solutions have not been found. 

"The government is designing innovative solutions to end the university's troubles, especially the finance, management and board wrangles," said Machogu. 

He, however, warned that the problem may persist if universities do not play their part in innovative solutions. 

Among the solutions included sponsoring some of the Vice Chancellors to visit universities outside Kenya for benchmarking. 

Machogu said universities have to use their own resources and projects to raise funds in a bid to reduce the debt burden. 

He added that the government will be focusing on evidence-based measures and in order to provide appropriate solutions. 

The government is also grappling with the capitation fund for current first years.

Machogu noted that over 119,000 of the 140,000 students placed in universities had reported. 

However, according to Machogu, the government is yet to deposit funds for the students and universities were forced to admit them without the capitation fund. 

He further stated that the government will begin a clean-up exercise to ensure universities have prudent administration who utilise resources to the maximum. 

Speaking to graduates, Machogu urged them to use their education and training for the betterment of the society. 

"You have the potential to be great, tap into the opportunities especially digital jobs that are limitless," he said. 

Moiben MP Phyllis Bartoo lauded the government for the university reform in a bid to save universities and bring transformation. 

She said lawmakers are rooting for the reforms to ensure universities’ burden is reduced.

She said the government should also look at other ways to waive the university debts and support universities in times of need.

“What we have done as parliament is good but it may take time to be effective, we need universities and students to be patient and results under the new reforms will be seen,” she said.

Egerton University's Chancellor Dr Narendra Raval urged the graduates to be focused on their goals and take care of their mental health. 

He advised them to focus on entrepreneurship and self-employment. 

Prof Isaac Kibwage, the Vice Chancellor said the university was privileged to oversee the graduation of 33 PHDs, 118 Masters, 3,629 Bachelor’s Degrees and 168 Diploma graduates. 

"The government has promised to fund the university with Sh100 million for construction of a laboratory and offices," said Kibwage.