By Ruto Abdi. @AbdiTaraja.
Student leaders from developing public universities and colleges across the country are petitioning the National Assembly on the issue of funding that has so far impeded development of the institutions.
In June this year, student leaders threatened to sue Education CS Jacob Kaimenyi for the poor government funding which have affected the realization of these upcoming universities. But yesterday, the Chairperson of Constituent Colleges and Developing Universities Forum (CCDUF) Alfred Chuchu said the pursuit to take legal actions would take long and that the case would require thorough research.
“We have realized the problems ailing our Universities cannot be solved by our administrations or County Governments alone. The ministry of education has failed in their mandate and therefore a collective approach by all stakeholders is urgently required,” he said.
Chuchu said 2013 marked a new beginning when the Universities Act of 2012 created a record 22 Universities and constituent colleges but has still failed to equip some of them appropriately.
“There is over reliance on government support which is not paying dividends since the government capitation is only 30% of the total budget. This has therefore led to skewed allocation of resources in our Universities,” reads part of the petition adding that well established Universities get more funding than developing ones.
In the petition seen by the media in Kericho and which is directed to the National Assembly Clerk Justine Bundi, the student leaders said they decided to petition Parliament to look into the funding issue of developing universities and review the 2012 Universities Act.
“We would like Parliament to deal with the petition immediately in view of the urgency of the matter and establish a parliamentary select committee to help see the raised matters,” reads the petition.
According to the petition filed by Alfred Chuchu who is also the University of Kabianga Students President in Kericho, the student leaders want parliament to increase the capitation fee from 30 per cent to 70 per cent of their total budget.
“We petition parliament to review the act to ensure all roads leading to Public Universities and colleges are tarmacked and pavements created,” said the leaders in the petition adding that it was a shame in this century to see a university that cannot be accessed easily due to poor roads.
The petitioners also want Parliament to stop proliferation of Universities to reward political cronies with total disregard to scientific rationale and feasibility studies. They also asked for the establishment of police posts in campuses and ensure that it was for security reasons and not to target students.
“What happened in Garrissa University College was very unfortunate and it should not happen again. That is why we are presenting this petition,” added Chuchu.
In the petition, the student leaders attribute all challenges facing institutions to the poor funding by the government.
“Research facilities are hampered, poor and insufficient halls of residence, poor and ill equipped small libraries, ICT and inadequate computers, inaccessibility due to poor state of roads in some institutions and security against terror,” the petition lists as some of the challenges.