Higher education minister Itah Kandjii-Murangi has said that it is not fair for private tertiary institutions to demand full tuition fees from students who would have not been on campus due to the lockdown.
Kandjii-Murangi also said the economic climate currently will make it hard for many families to afford tuition fees as a result of eroded household savings and retrenchments.
“A lot of our private institutions in the country actually make their profits with students being on campus. When students are not on campus they are losing, it’s quite a very tricky situation for them and very difficult.
However, if you talk from the moral side of things its not fair to ask someone who has not been on your campus and has not received teaching to ask full fees from them. The best they could do is to actually work out the amount of teaching that was done and see if that can be charged as per the weeks that were taught.
That is if the students come to deregister, maybe they did it a few weeks into the semester. But if it is way into the semester it would be difficult. Legally, I think the policies of each institution will bail each institution out. Then they will have to say if you start from January, by March no one should deregister,” she said.
The minister said they are not considering salary cuts for lecturers to save more as this would aggravate the effects of the pandemic on family savings.
However, she did say that for private institutions which do not get bailouts from the government as Nust and Unam, lecturers will likely be on the chopping block as these institutions are not making profits.
“We are not really talking about reducing salaries as yet. If you do that you are accentuating the challenges of Covid on those families but one also knows that for private institutions that profit from fees it is difficult for them to continue paying if this situation persists. But as I am saying I think for government, I think it’ s best that for now we maintain the salaries and do the right things and make sure staff and students return to institutions and make up for the time that has been lost,” she said.