It has not been a particularly exciting couple of days for new students meant to join University. The new proposed plan by University ’s fund committee differs from the previous years. It will no longer be automatic for students who score a grade of C+ and above to receive University education funding from the government.
Instead, all students will be required to make new applications requesting consideration for government funding. The new proposed plan that seeks to address the current financial crisis being witnessed by Universities.
Eric Kipchumba for one, is a student, waiting to be placed in one of the universities. He is among the 123, 963 who qualified to join University. Eric, who grew up in Cheptiret, in Uasin Gishu County is in fear of the unknown concerning his education. Given he has attended public schools his entire education. He even had to struggle to qualify for University, only to learn that there might be another hurdle toward achieving his dreams.
“ To be honest, this is the only hope I have for achieving my dreams. I was really caught unaware by the recommendations. This is because University funding has been there for as long as I can remember. And I can say the only purpose for working so hard is so that I can be a university education beneficiary just like others who qualified for University before me.”
University Funding Qualification Criteria
George Monari, the CEO of the University funding Board expressed some of the criteria to qualify for government funding. Among them is merit; which he explained as the level of performance. Secondly, the level of need, with the needy being given priority. National priorities also, such as the available funds, and, lastly affirmative action where factors such as gender, marginalization, and disability are put into perspective.
Joan on the hand, a resident of Eldoret and a student due to join the University also expresses her fear about who would pay for the University fees.
“ Personally, I have younger siblings who are still in school. You know, unlike primary and secondary school, those were basic education that parents were tasked to cater for. But now, this is tertiary, they may not feel obliged as much. Especially with the level of unemployment among graduates, nothing is motivating to the parents to sacrifice some more for.”
These are just among the many students who are not certain of the outcome in the case of such changes. What if Eric and his peers miss that opportunity? What if the University funding process excludes some of the most deserving?
It doesn’t help that these woes come amidst, the backlog by Helb from the last two years. Students who joined in the last financial year and the one before that haven’t been accredited their Helb loans despite having qualified to receive them. This is due to the lack of funds.
On a lighter note, despite all this, the move by the government to reject the proposal on fee increment from 16,000 to 48,000 comes as a breath of fresh air.
“ While these proposals have been made, no decision has been arrived at to increase the fees.” Said CS Machogu, speaking at Kabianga University during its 10th anniversary.
Truth be told, these proposed recommendations come at a time when the economy is harsh. So much so that even parents willing to pay, may not be able to as of now due to lack of funds.
Students are now covered in uncertainty as their futures are in jeopardy.
The procedure for University placement in Kenya usually involves a first revision of courses at KUCCPS which is usually at a date announced after the release of KCSE results. It is followed by a second revision where those who didn’t qualify for their preferred options are given a second chance to select again. The last step is now the placement into the programs; which is currently being awaited by 2022 KCSE candidates.
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