After several student leaders met to deliberate on the Government’s move to increase college fees, the student leaders released a joint statement to counter the move:
Joint Press Statement on University Fee Increment
It has come to the attention of the Kenya University Students’ Community that the government is anticipating to review school fees in public universities upwards.
The Cabinet Secretary, the Ministry of Education has been quoted by a section of the media stating that the University School fees as currently set is very low and needs review.
We want at this first instance, to categorically state that this is unacceptable to the University Students Community and would like to make the government very aware that it shall not be accepted.
Secondly, the law, the University Act, provides a framework for review, if there shall be, of school fees. This mandate lies with the yet to be established Universities Fund Board.
It is very disturbing, that while this board has a big mandate, the ministry would choose to set its agenda even before it comes into existence.
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The new constitutional dispensation requires public participation in all policy matters. In this case, we demand that students be represented in the Board at the time of its inception since its decisions will directly affect us.
We are also aware, that the government has generally reduced capitation to public universities. This amounts to sabotage of our training and calls into question, the government’s commitment to support higher education.
We are particularly disturbed at why a government would make Primary education free, subsidize secondary education then deliberately make higher education out of reach. We want to remind the government, that primary and secondary school education in this country is incapable of making young people independent. Higher Education is the only place where we specialize and get skills that make us employable and equips us with ability to participate in the development of our country.
The Youth of this country, expect the government to move towards making higher education free, and not raising school fees. We want to unequivocally state that we are willing and ready to hold them to account in this regard.
We have given many requests for review of HELB allocations to reflect the current economic status. Students can barely support themselves in school with allocations as little as Ksh, 35000 for an entire year, out of which Ksh. 28,000 averagely goes to school fees. How does the government expect a student to stay for a whole year in school surviving on Ksh 7000?
We are disappointed that a government can choose to characterize investment in its youth, the development of its human capital, the one thing that makes this country stand out in Africa, as a cost.
Our industries are complaining of half baked graduates, but we want to remind Kenya, that how possible is it for me to study on an empty stomach. Or how possible is it for our sisters to study if they cannot meet even the costs of the very basics. The majority of Kenyans are poor; this reality should always be in the minds of the policy makers. It should always be at the heart of government.
This Statement is signed by: