What Ruto discussed with VCs at State House on Tuesday

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What Ruto discussed with VCs at State House on Tuesday
What Ruto discussed with VCs at State House on Tuesday

Africa-Press – Kenya. President William Ruto on Tuesday met vice-chancellors of public universities and principals of constituent colleges at State House, Nairobi.

The President said he convened the meeting to evaluate the new university funding model introduced last year.

Ruto said the VCs confirmed that the financing model is working and in three years time, they will sort out the financial challenges facing universities.

They said the model ensured there 100 per cent absoption of first-year students who joined university and TVETs in the current financial year.

While unveiling the new university and TVETs funding model on May 3, 2023, Ruto said the new formula was aimed at primarily benefiting students from extremely poor backgrounds through government scholarships, loans and bursaries.

“For the first time, students whose families are at the bottom of the pyramid shall enjoy equal opportunity in accessing university and TVET education. Their households shall not make any contribution towards the education of their children,” Ruto said.

The new model, he said, would benefit only the new cohort of 173,127 students who joined universities and 145,325 students who joined TVET institutions in the current financial year.

This means continuing students in the second year through to year four will continue receiving funding under the differentiated unit cost as has been the norm in previous years.

“The government is committed to enhancing budgetary support for the differentiated unit cost for continuing students,” Ruto told the vice-chancellors.

The President said funding under the differentiated unit cost will be enhanced from the current 42 per cent to 50 per cent.

Under the new model of funding, beneficiaries who are university students from needy households are entitled to government scholarships of up to 53 per cent and loans of up to 40 per cent.

Parents and guardians pay only 7 per cent of the total cost of their university education.

Needy students pursuing TVET courses receive scholarships of up to 50 per cent and 30 per cent in loans with parents footing only 20 per cent of the cost.

The vice-chancellors also informed the President that the process of rationalising university programmes has already started.

They said universities and the State Department of Higher Education have been tasked with identifying the programmes that don’t have students for purposes of consolidating them.

This process, they said, will ensure institutions that have facilities and requisite human resource capacity offer courses they are best equipped to teach thus leading to specialisation.

Consensus was also reached for universities to do away with programmes that don’t attract students and for VCs to come up with incentives that can attract students to unpopular courses such as science, Engineering, Technology and Mathematics (STEM).

The VCs told the President that they will issue a status update on the issues discuss in the next three months.

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