HELB Advises Ruto Against Establishing New Public Universities
Charles Ringera, chief executive officer of the Higher Education Loans Board, has urged Ruto’s administration to invest in public universities.
He stated that this will be an alternative to establishing new institutions.
Ringera stated that equipping the current number of institutions is preferable to constructing new ones.
He stated that current universities have sufficient space to accommodate more students.
“Again we are opening more universities yet the ones we have are not fully occupied. Can we try to occupy these universities before we think of an open university?” he said.
The chief executive expressed his opinion on the viability of some Kenya Kwanza campaign promises.
Ringera was speaking at a vice-chancellors’ conference in Mombasa.
The conference is organized by the Governmental Department of University Education and Research and brings together numerous state entities.
The head of Helb stated that the promise to establish technical universities in every location could be expensive.
He urged that the government led by President William Ruto should invest in the three existing institutions rather than establishing new ones.
The charter states that the Kenya Kwanza administration will seek to establish one university in each of the remaining counties.
Ruto has pledged that the technical universities will also function as incubators and innovation hubs for the region.
“Why are we creating new universities when the ones we already have are underutilized?” he questioned.
Ruto and his deputy, Rigathi Gachagua, also committed to establishing an open university in Kenya.
Ringera, however, stated that all universities in Kenya should be described as ‘open.’
A university with an open admissions policy and minimal or no entry requirements.
They may adopt certain teaching strategies, such as open-supported learning or distant learning.
Ringera noted that the government of Kenya Kwanza’s idea to provide university students with interest-free loans could be pricey.
Ruto vowed to reform Helb to offer loans without interest.
During the fiscal year 2021-22, Helb was able to fund 347,166 students at the cost of Sh14.8 billion, according to Ringera.
“Of these pupils, 106,048 were from TVETs at a cost of Sh3.9 billion, and we still have 35,137 students without funding,” added Ringera.
He stated that there is a board charged with providing university students with grants.
Regarding university funding, Ringera stated that universities are already burdened with debts and unpaid statutory deductions. Universities’ unpaid invoices stand at over Ksh.65 million.
While outlining the future of Helb, he stated that colleges should be assigned realistic revenue collection goals.
During student breaks, colleges cannot collect Appropriation in Aid (A in A) money, according to Ringera.