Varsity students demand for fees reduction

Student leaders from various public universities speaking to the press on April 21, 2014. Public university students want the government to reduce their schools fees by half. PHOTO/BILLY MUTAI.

Public university students want the government to reduce their schools fees by half.

The students are also demanding an increase of the funds allocated to them from Higher Education Loans Board, saying the cost of living has gone up.

Kenya University Students Organisation officials said that the recent proposal by Commission of University Education to review upwards the school fees was ‘unreasonable and unconstitutional.’

“The government either reduces the school fees by half, or leaves it to remain as it is, most of us students are struggling to pay the school fees,” said Babu Owino, the chairman of Kenya University Students' Organisation.

Mr Owino who is also the chairman of Student Organisation of Nairobi University said they were planning to hold a nationwide protest on Tuesday next week in a bid to get Education Cabinet Secretary’s attention.

They claim that efforts to reach Prof Kaimenyi to hold talks on the same have been futile as they have not managed to get an appointment.

Mr Owino further added that if the demonstration is not successful they would be forced to move to court.

“We shall fight this by law and by force,” he said.

The students are calling for an establishment of a task force to review fees where they will have a representation since its decision affects them directly.
The Commission of University Education is set to review the fee upwards which will see students pay above the current average fee of Sh26,000, with different fees pegged on the courses undertaken.

The student leaders have the backing of Members of Parliament, among them Kiharu MP Irungu Kangata, a former Sonu chairman.

The MP says he will move a motion in Parliament to stop the increment of school fees which has been proposed by Prof Kaimenyi.

“Universities are increasing their staff’s salaries, they have investments they are running, there are fees from parallel students, the higher learning institutions have enough money, do not burden the poor government-sponsored students with increased fees,” said Mr Kangata.

Mr Kangata also raised concern over the management of Helb saying that the board has ‘increasingly continued to (deny loans) to deserving students.”

“I will move a motion to have the whole board dissolved because students in public universities should have preferential access to loans but that is not what is happening, more and more poor students are missing out on the fund,” he said.