Scholars urge state to reduce cost of education

Prof Herman Manyora. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

A section of scholars and clergy in the Western region have urged the government to address the rising cost of education.

Prof Herman Manyora, Dr Festus Mukoya, and Dr Odongo Were from the University of Nairobi (UoN) said that exorbitant fees have shattered the dreams of children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Speaking at the thanksgiving ceremony of Dr Mukoya, who recently earned a Ph.D. in Peace and Conflict Management from Oslo University in Norway, the scholars underscored the crippling effect of high school fees on access to higher education.

Prof Manyora said that education is key to transforming the lives of children from less privileged backgrounds.

“We want a country where all children have an equal chance to succeed in life, and the government must ensure education is affordable to all Kenyans,” he said.

Dr Mukoya criticized the recommendations of the Presidential Working Group on Education, particularly the proposal to increase fees in schools and universities.

The working group had suggested significant changes, including a staggering increase in university fees per semester from Sh16,000 to Sh52,000.

“It's unfortunate for the government to increase taxes, hike educational costs, and expect Kenyans at the lowest pyramid to compete favourably with the rich. This is a pointer that we are heading in the wrong direction as a country,” Dr Mukoya said.

Dr Odongo noted that majority of Kenyans live below the poverty line and an increase in school fees would jeopardize access to education in the country.

“The government must relook at the burden of educational costs they put on parents because the Competence-Based Curriculum (CBC) is very expensive. Many Kenyans are struggling to take their children to school,” he said.

The scholars also appealed to the government to allocate adequate funds to universities for research and innovation saying this is crucial for economic transformation.

They urged the Ministry of Education to ensure proper management and funding in the sector.

The Presiding Bishop of the Free Pentecostal Fellowship Church of Kenya, Joseph Munialo raised concern over the dwindling hope among Kenyans due to economic hardships.

He called on President William Ruto to address the challenges faced by citizens and refrain from divisive politics.