The Jubilee government has been put on notice over its plans to increase fees for university students in the country’s public universities.
Speaking today at the Technical University of Kenya, student leaders from several public universities threatened to stage a nationwide demo to oppose the government’s plan to hike students fees.
The leaders accused the government of having its education priorities wrong and wondered how it could make primary education free, subsidize secondary education then deliberately make higher education out of reach.
The Commission for University Education (CUE) earlier this month indicated that fees will be increased from September 2014 for the new academic year.
The student leaders are also opposed to the ‘differential unit costs’ system which will see those doing sciences, law and medicine pay more per course.
â€œIn case the government makes good its threat to raise the fees, we will mobilize all students across the country in a demonstration like no other,â€ said Student Organization of Maseno University president, Mr Charles Juma.
The leaders demanded a review of the decision at the not yet established Universities Fund Board, terming the government’s move as ‘arbitrary and unconstitutional’. They want the Funds Board to be established to handle the matter.
â€œThe 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, Said Kenyatta University student leader Mr Lone Felix.
They are also calling on the government to increase capitation to public universities which was exerting pressure on Vice Chancellor who are now resorting to increase their fees.
â€œWe have noted over the last year that the capitation to university has been reducing which is a worrying trend. The government must support higher education instead of being obstacles,â€ said Meshack Achola, Secretary General Technical Universities.
The upward review would see students pay above the average fee of Sh26,000 with different fees pegged on the course undertaken.
The fees have remained largely unchanged since 1995.
Similar proposal by a World Bank study in 2010 that had recommended that university fees be doubled and rates on Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) loans be increased met protests from students.
Others present at the meeting included the newly elected University of Nairobi chair Mr Babu Owino andÂ Maxwell Oloo the National Convener Kenya University Students Association.