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Education Ministry on course to waive public universities pending bills

The Ministry of Education is engaging the Treasury on ways to waive part of the Ksh 60 billion that public universities owe KRA.

With the universities facing financial crisis, the ministry admitted that the higher learning institutions could not afford to pay all their pending bills.

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Cabinet Secretary for Ministry of Education Ezekiel Machogu said that a committee from the ministry and Treasury had been formed to look into the pending bills.

He noted that the pending bills had accrued in the last five years with the universities unable to pay KRA, PAYE and workers’ pension schemes.

He blamed this on the old funding model to the universities called the DUC (Differentiated Unit Cost) which saw students undertaking expensive courses like Medicine get the lion share of the funds.

“Universities have pending bills of around Ksh 62B and we are working with the national government on how KRA can waive some of these bills,” he said.

The CS was addressing the press in Lake Naivasha Resort after meeting the Senate committee on education where he said that the new funding model would solve challenges in the universities.

“The new university funding model has been split into four groups and students from the most vulnerable families will be the biggest beneficiaries,” he said.

The CS noted that the Ministry had changed the capitation formula with schools getting 50pc the first term, 30pc in the second term and the last in the final term and  that they were working closely with TSC in addressing challenges facing teachers and the education system

“We have also heard some teachers in Northern Kenya complain about cases of insecurity and the government would like to assure them of their safety, we have managed to pay all the invigilators who participated in the exams and going forward we shall put measures in place to pay them soon after the exercise,” he said.

Chair of the Senate committee Joseph Nyutu lauded the Ministry on the new university funding model noting that all poor students would benefit adding that the Ministry had also assured them that schools with special needs would be the first to get capitation fees under the new funding model by the government.

“For years, schools with special needs have been sidelined leading to suffering of the students and the caregivers but this will now be a thing of the past,” he said.

Antony Gitonga
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Sally Namuye
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