Court Tussle Over Fee Hikes May Cripple Varsities – Universities Fund.
If last year’s freezing of fee increases order is not lifted, public universities will forget government funding to run undergraduate programs.
The Universities Fund has now issued a red alert, claiming that the High Court order will cripple universities.
The Universities Fund argues in its case before the Court of Appeal to unfreeze the orders that, while the orders were essentially central to the University of Nairobi’s fee increase, the effect afflicted all universities in the country.
In its urgent application to the Court of Appeal, the board criticizes High Court judge Anthony Mrima for issuing orders that, it claims, prevent all universities from receiving funds.
According to Thande Kuria, the board’s lawyer, Justice Mrima invalidated the maximum differential unit costs (MDUC) formula last year, which is used by public universities to determine funding for undergraduate programs.
Mr Kuria claims that the formula does not apply to postgraduate programs, for which the University of Nairobi intends to raise fees.
MDUC is used to allocate funds to universities based on the number of government-sponsored students placed in various courses by Kenya Universities and Colleges Placement Services (KUCCPS).
The formula was declared invalid by Justice Mrima due to a lack of public participation. He also overturned the University of Nairobi’s fee structure.
In the case, the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists, and Dentists Union (KMPDU) sued the UoN and the board, claiming that raising the fees violated the right to affordable healthcare.
According to the union, UoN unilaterally increased the fees to three times what students are currently paying.
According to the union, the fees set for Medicine students are not sustainable for the country. Despite the current Covid-19 pandemic, KMPDU lamented that UoN was likely to implement the changes.
According to Dr. Bhimnji, the schedule limits medical students’ opportunities to further their education in a public institution.
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According to him, students were not informed of the reason for the fee increase, and stakeholders were not involved throughout the process.
According to a union official, the structure does not promote an equitable society because the threefold increment does not take into account marginalized groups.
KMPDU claims that if the orders are lifted, students will be forced to make up the difference in fees.