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Varsity students oppose plan to increase fees

The Education ministry’s plan to increase fees in public universities is facing opposition from students and Parliament, but Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi vows to implement it.

Last month, the Commission for University Education (CUE) indicated that the fees, which Prof Kaimenyi described as “too low”, will be increased from September.

Students under the regular programme pay about Sh15,000 per semester. The government wants to increase this amount to Sh26,000.

 

But university student bodies are against the proposed fees increase, saying it will prevent students from poor backgrounds from attaining university education.

Students Organisation of Nairobi University (Sonu) Finance Secretary Linda Guantai, in an interview, said that a fee increase will negatively affect students.

“We cannot agree with Prof Kaimenyi. So far, many students are struggling to pay their fees, and increasing it will lead to most of us dropping out.

“The government should even consider making education in public universities cheaper than it is now.”

In a telephone interview, Sonu chairman Babu Owino said university students will not accept any increase in fees since the money available for them is not enough.

“You cannot increase fees yet the loan offered by Helb is not enough,” he said.

On Thursday, Kiharu MP Irungu Kang’ata gave Prof Kaimenyi a two-week ultimatum to reverse the plan to increase public university fees or face action.

But Mr Kaimenyi said the fee structure has not been reviewed in more than 10 years yet universities have been affected by inflation.