NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 16 – A petitioner is seeking to amend the University Amendment Act of 2012 to allow the entrenchment of Alumni Associations in management of the higher learning institutions.
The petitioner Patrick Kaberia who presented his petition before the National Assembly stated that Alumni association to join University Councils and Senate.
The Executive Director PAWA Africa said the move will aid the supporting of universities which are facing issues of mismanagement and financial crisis.
“The petitioner bemoans what he calls as the sad state of the universities. He highlights poor leadership, mismanagement, lack of inclusivity, lack of accountability as some of the ills facing these institutions,” stated Speaker Moses Wetangula while presenting the petition.
Kaberia also wants the Universities compelled to constitute Alumni Association by amending Section 42 of the Universities Act,2012.
Further, the associations should be empowered to nominate representatives to Universities Councils, Senate and Management Board in order to manage an Endowement Fund.
University endowments are comprised of money or other financial assets that are donated to academic institutions. They are aimed to support the teaching, research, and public service missions of colleges and universities.
He cited that the involvement of the Alumni Association will help in addressing challenges the issues bedeviling the high learning institutions with some on the verge of collapse.
Kamkunji MP Yusuf Hassan supported the petition saying there is need for the higher learning institutions to seek new ideas to solve the cash crisis facing them which can be achieved by ideas of the Alumni Association.
“Our universities are on a terminal crisis and they are facing serious problems of funding. There is need to inject new ideas and funding by investing in the Alumni. I have no doubt that universities can benefit from the Alumni,” he said.
Endebess MP Robert Pukose averred that the petition was timely due to the status of public universities occasioned by debt which needed to be remedied.
“It’s unfortunate that public universities are being run down and the petition is timely so that we can stop the tide towards universities sinking,” said Pukose.
However, Navakholo MP Emanuel Wangwe cautioned that allowing the Alumni Association sit in the two university management institutions, the Council and Senate will compromise the output of universities.
“Its my issue to request the public petition to be cautious because if allow the Alumni Association to mingle with the affairs of the council it will compromise output of University product.If we allow the Alumni association to support the universities in sourcing for resources that might work,”stated Wangwe.
The petition has been forwarded to the Public Petition Committee for consideration before recommendations are tabled before the House.
The funding gap for students in public universities has more than doubled in the past two years, signaling even tougher days ahead for the cash-strapped institutions.
Currently, public universities are facing a financial crisis as they collectively owe government agencies and pension schemes about Sh56.1 billion.
According to data by University Fund (UF) in the last concluded financial year the debt is owed to NSSF (Sh139 million), pension schemes (Sh18.6 billion), the Kenya Revenue Authority (Sh13.7 billion), suppliers (Sh4.9 billion), part-time lecturers (Sh4.6 billion).
The financially ailing institutions also owe NHIF (Sh2 million), loan deductions (Sh1.4 billion), Sacco contributions (Sh4.2 billion), contractors (Sh1.5 billion) and others (Sh10.7 billion).
“Currently, universities are facing a profound financial crisis. The aftermath of Covid-19 still lingers. The war in Ukraine has destabilized various economies and oil prices and supply chain globally,” UF CEO Geofrey Monari said.