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Magoha summons VCs amid reports he wants to shut down broke universities

Vice-chancellors of public universities have been summoned to Nairobi for an urgent meeting to set the stage for major reforms that could see some institutions merged and others shut down.

The meeting, to be chaired by Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha, will pave the way for reforms in a sector that has been facing a financial crisis due to a decline in the number of students and lower funding from the government.

The Commission for University Education (CUE), tasked by Prof Magoha to prepare a report on the merger of universities, is also expected to table its preliminary report to the session, which is expected to be tense as some vice-chancellors have already rejected government plans to merge universities.

CUE chief executive Mwenda Ntarangwi declined to be drawn into a discussion on the agenda.

In his budget speech, Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich made it clear that the more than 32 universities will have to be merged or closed down.

On Thursday, vice-chancellors who plan to attend the meeting at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development said the ministry had not given them the agenda.

“We have been told that the agenda of the meeting will be tabled once the meeting starts,” said a vice-chancellor, who asked not to be named.