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Education PS wants part of pending bills for public varsities waived

The Ministry of Education is consulting with Ministry of Finance and other stakeholders to have part of the huge pending bill facing Public Universities which now stands at over Ksh75bllion waived.

Education PS Beatrice Inyangala said the report on the pending bills is now with the Pending Bills Committee and they were also discussing with Treasury and other stakeholders in a bid to have  Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) waive the dues owed from non-remitted Statutory deductions.

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“We are also looking at escalating the issue of these pending bills to the Cabinet,” she said.

The Education Cabinet Secretary (CS) Ezekiel Machogu revealed that pending bills now totalling Ksh82 billion has accrued in the 32 public universities for over five to six years due to inadequate funding from the Government.

At that time the Government was using Differentiated Unit Cost (DOC) where the Government would pay 80 per cent of the total cost of the course being undertaken by every student regardless of their social- economic standing and the cost of the course being undertaken.

He noted that that due to inadequate funding, only 68 per cent of the total funding required by public universities was disbursed in that period of six years leading to accumulation of debts. But Dr Inyangala says the new funding model being used now has seen the Universities receive Sh 38billion more in their budget.

The increased funding, Dr Inyangala said is geared towards meeting the increased demands of facilitating and accommodating growing student numbers joining universities as well as enacting new programmes that meet jobs market demands for graduates.

About 563,000 students were enrolled in universities in Kenya during the academic year 2022/23. The number increased from roughly 562,100 enrolled in universities in Kenya as at the beginning of the 2021 /22 academic year.

Public universities rely largely on government subsidies to run their operations.

According to the funding report of the 2023/24 financial year from the Treasury, public universities received an allocation of Ksh44,023,955,000 against a requirement Ksh71,945,049,600 leaving a deficit of Ksh27,921,094,600.

This leaves the varsities with a deepening budget deficit amounting to Ksh49 billion.

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