By Seliphar Machoni
During my childhood, I witnessed my parents struggle and work tirelessly to ensure my three siblings and I had an education despite my father being a casual labourer and my mother a housewife. However, Mwai Kibaki, the late former President of Kenya implemented education policies that greatly benefited people like me. Additionally, Wings to Fly by Equity Bank provided great assistance to students, while university students were guaranteed HELB loans.
Reports indicate that the government plans to increase tuition fees by more than 200%. This means that a student who previously paid Ksh 16,000 per year will now pay Ksh 52,000 annually under the newly proposed funding model that removes block funding given in the form of grants, replacing it with need-based funding for individual students.
This new approach could potentially exclude many vulnerable students from accessing higher learning institutions or force them into dropping out altogether, abandoning their degrees and dream careers.
Unfortunately, what was once considered free and affordable education is now taking a different turn. Can we still refer to it as “free”? Many young people have dreams of becoming successful individuals after their studies, but this may no longer be feasible due to recent developments.
As I write this article, my thoughts go out to those children from poor backgrounds whose parents struggle to provide daily meals, let alone pay school or tuition fees, a current debate within Kenya’s educational system. Affordable education is at risk!
To make affordable education accessible for vulnerable students once again, I urge His Excellency William Ruto (President of Kenya) to fulfil his promise by rejecting the proposed university funding model suggested through Education Reforms Committees. It’s vital that we prioritize accessible education for all if we want our society to thrive and progress towards a brighter future where everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed regardless of their background or financial situation.