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Uhuru’s cost-cutting directive spells doom for lucrative university parallel programmes

EDUCATION
By Augustine Oduor | Nov 24th 2019 | 2 min read

A new policy might see the end of the lucrative parallel programmes in public universities.

The Sunday Standard has established that following a presidential directive on austerity measures, the government has finally got its way to collect all monies generated by the institutions. This comes as student numbers under the module II programme continue to decline as the government absorbs nearly all qualified students under its sponsorship.

The few students left are shared among the private and public universities on a competitive basis, with some even missing out because of preferences.

The government has over the years mulled over possible ways of having universities declare monies they generate internally, most of which are collected from parallel programmes.

However, the proposals have always met resistance from public universities’ vice chancellors, who claim all the monies generated are declared and ploughed back into the programmes.

Two years ago, former Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i introduced a raft of university reforms, part of which required universities to remit all monies they collect from parallel programmes.

Under the proposals, the National Treasury was to collect all the monies generated from universities, with the Universities Funding Board (UFB) tasked to manage all monetary disbursements to the institutions.

Teaching staff

The shock presidential directive however means public universities may not have adequate resources to pay teaching staff, most of who are part-time lecturers, for the parallel programmes.

Internal communication from University of Nairobi reveals that from last week, all monies generated internally are sent to the government.

“Any surplus funds invested in Treasury Bills by any college or any other form of investment must be liquidated and submitted to the National Treasury on or before November 15, 2019,” reads a circular by Prof Isaac Mbeche, acting Vice Chancellor of the University of Nairobi. The circular dated November 15 is copied to all deputy vice chancellors, college principals and heads of central units.

It emerged that all public universities have issued a similar communication in line with the presidential directive to all heads of parastatals to implement cost-cutting measures for sustainability. Interviews with vice chancellors of the public universities revealed that the institutions will have to cut down on expenditures on the Module II programmes.

Future intakes of Module II students will also be banned.

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