Private universities have been allocated 10,000 government-sponsored students starting September this year on a pilot basis.
This follows the recommendations of a task force that was constituted by Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i last month.
The report of the working committee on placement of government-sponsored students to universities has also proposed that Sh700 million be used on public-sponsored students in private universities out of Sh49 billion that has been allocated to public universities starting July.
The government will also be required to fund universities as per the current funding model at Sh70,000 per student paid by the state and Sh16, 000 paid by the student.
The announcement is a major victory for private universities, which have been seeking a share of government-sponsored students since 2013, following the enactment of the Universities Act 2012, which allowed the admission of the students to private universities.
However, since the passing of the Act, no state-sponsored student has ever joined a private university.
According to the 2015 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) results, 165,766 candidates attained the minimum university entry grade of C+ and above.
However, Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS) has announced that only 74,389 will join public universities in September up from 67,790 last year and the rest will have to seek admission to private universities or tertiary colleges.
LOWERING CUT-OFF POINTS
The report compiled by an 11-member committee has proposed that the maximum differentiated unit costs be applied to funding for public universities in the 2016/2017 financial year.
The report notes that the additional 10,000 government-sponsored students placed in private universities will increase the overall 2016/2017 intake of government-sponsored students from 74, 389 to 84,389.
If the 10,000 students are absorbed, candidates who scored up to 56 points for girls and 58 for boys, will now be able to join universities under the government-sponsored programme.
The report adds that students placed in both public and private universities would be entitled to Higher Education Loans Board, subject to the mean test.
Dr Matiang’i has indicated that private sectors are out to compliment government efforts in provision of education.