Friday, May 9, 2014

University Fee Review


I've recently completed my undergraduate studies in campus and apparently it seems I've done it just in time. The government is planning to review the university fees for all government sponsored students in public universities, which I was. The fee, which was about KES 26000, has not been changed in almost 20 years, since 1995. This review was planned to be implemented in the beginning of the next semester.

The review would see the fee doubling and would also differentiate fees based on the course someone was taking which would see people who were taking science paying more than liberal arts.

Do I support the government in this? Yes. Universities are currently struggling with stalled infrastructure projects (I'm not sure why this doesn't seem to be much of a problem for Kenyatta University though), increased enrollment numbers and stress on existing facilities. Universities need the extra cash to help meet a shortfall from government sources.

I've always wondered how the current fees were sustainable. The fees for self-sponsored students range from about KES 160,000 to 500,000 (for medicine) per year in public university. I assumed that the government made up the difference for each student in hopes that we go on to pay taxes, create jobs and generally just build up the economy.

If the government no longer feels that it's getting these benefits from the children it's sponsoring perhaps it's time we reviewed why not - I've been meaning to write a post on one particular reason this may be but I'm lazy. There must be something in the education system that is failing.

Students around the country, predictably, reacted by saying they will not be accepting any changes and that they would strike if they were introduced (are strikes the only way to address grievances in this country?). Of course the same students will be complaining about falling standards in school and poor facilities once they return to school. These things cost money and someone has to pay for them.

Also in related news, the government is working on frameworks that will allow government sponsored students to attend private universities. This is a good thing, more students in school and more competition for schools among students. Peace!!!

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