Besides the bread and butter issues, university education is at a reforms crossroads.
The Auditor-General has been churning out reforms laden with the same chorus of how the institutions are running so low on funds to the point of insolvency.
Some named as operating on huge deficits are the University of Nairobi, Kenyatta, Maseno, Jkuat, Moi, Egerton and others.
Significantly, Egerton has had to surrender its title deed for a 642-ha parcel to the Kenya Revenue Authority over Sh856 million tax arrears.
The land is located in Marigat, Baringo County. Egerton University Sacco has sued the institution for failure to remit Sh431 million.
Prof George Magoha, who took over the Education docket in March 2019, hit the ground running with a warning to the universities that they would have to scrap some courses he called useless and merge or shut down some campuses, which he deemed unnecessary.
The momentum for change, however, seems to have slowed down. Apart from the University of Nairobi, which in June scrapped 40 courses, and Moi, which did away with 30 departments, others are yet to take the cue.
In effect, the universities are steeped in a crisis over the stalled reforms.
It is notable that the principal secretary for University Education, Prof Collete Suda, also doubles up as the Chief Administrative Officer of the whole docket, which includes basic education, technical and vocational colleges, tertiary and universities.
This could mean that strictly, the universities do not have a dedicated PS whose attention is focused on the institutions.
“We need a dedicated principal secretary for higher education. The CAS is obviously overwhelmed by the huge ministry and is never available for consultations on universities,” said a vice-chancellor who declined to be named.