You cannot pick pickpocket a naked man!! Babu Owino speaks on Hiked varsity fees

Following hiked fees in higher learning institutions, Members of Parliament have opposed a proposal by University Vice Chancellors to have the fees tripled from the current Sh16,000 to Sh48,000 with effect from September.

The MPs led by Embakasi East MP Babu Owino cautioned the university heads against trying to implement the new levies without having them approved by the National Assembly as required by the Statutory Instruments Act.

The VCs told a one-day conference that brought together top officials of public and private universities that student fees must be increased to match the prevailing economic times citing that government-sponsored students are currently funded at a flat rate of Sh120,000 per year based on a formula developed in 1989.

The former Students Organization of Nairobi University (SONU) leader said he will be moving to court Thursday to injunct the ministry and the public universities from implementing the levies.

The details emerged during a state of university education meeting held last Friday organised by the National Assembly Education Committee chaired by Julius Melly.

The Commission for University Education (CUE), Higher Education Loans Board (Helb), Universities Funding Board (UFB) and Kenya Universities and Colleges Placement Service (KUCCPS) officials were present.

Owino backed sentiments by Higher Education PS Collette Suda who said it is time for universities to make painful decisions and rationalise their operations.

Under the ministry proposal, universities may be required to reduce the number of top managers such as Deputy Vice Chancellors, which in some institutions are occupied by up to four senior persons.

The Embakasi East legislator further challenged universities to adopt innovative ways of income generation to support the funding gaps.

MPs Samuel Atandi (Alego Usonga), Mohammed Ali (Nyali), Paul Mwirigi (Igembe South) and Antony Oluoch (Mathare) also castigated the Education CS Amina Mohamed and Higher Education Loans Board on their plan to use the police to pursue former beneficiaries of HELB loans with an aim of ensuring they payback the bursary.

“You cannot spend what you don’t have; you cannot pick pickpocket a naked man. If someone has nothing what do expect him to pay? We are going to file an injunction to prevent the university vice-chancellors from increasing university fees,” Owino said.

“We are likely to see an influx in the number of people sentenced to our correctional facilities; if the government goes on implements of this proposal on the students who are struggling,” Ali stated. 

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