Egerton University reopens as varsity sinks into Sh6 billion debt

Egerton University main campus main entrance on February 9, 2022 [Harun Wathari, Standard]

Egerton University needs in excess of Sh6 billion bail out to be debt-free.

This is according to Egerton University Vice Chancellor Prof Isaac Kibwage who spoke to The Standard as the institution reopened yesterday.

"As of September 2021, Egerton University had debts running to Sh6.1 billion. This is what is making it hard for us to smoothly run our operations," said Prof Kibwage.

The university was closed down on November 26 last year following a lecturers strike that began on November 12 and is still going on.

Prof Kibwage said that Senate resolved to reopen the University saying that this was the only way for it to make strides towards financial recovery.

"The University Senate sat on Friday and resolved to reopen the University. Some revenue streams that can only be availed when learners are in school," said Kibwage.

On Monday, learners continued to troop back to the institution hoping that learning would resume even as the lecturers remained adamant on moving back to class without their full pay.

"Some lecturers have shown willingness to continue teaching as we seek to resolve this matter. We shall provide them with security to ensure learning resumes," said Kibwage.

He explained that the institution had written to the Ministry of Education to provide short and long term solutions to the university.

"We requested Sh1.5 billion to help us right size our staff. We have a monthly wage bill of Sh251 million yet we only receive Sh174 million. We always have a financial shortfall every month that needs to be addressed," he said.

The lecturers through the University Academic Staff Union (UASU) leaders have however maintained that they would continue with their industrial action until their concerns are addressed.

The lecturers are demanding full implementation of a 2017-2021 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) and payment of their salary arrears accrued due to a 40 percent pay cut during the Covid-19 pandemic.