Experts Advocate Against Using NGCDF for Postgraduate Funding, Propose Reforms

Education experts have voiced concerns over the use of the National Government Constituency Development Fund (NGCDF) for funding postgraduate education, stating that the fund should primarily focus on building infrastructure for basic education. The experts argue that this diversion of funds undermines the original purpose of NGCDF and raises ethical questions.

Key Points:

  1. NGCDF Misuse for Postgraduate Funding:
    • Maliba Arnold Nyajayi, the Strategic Communication Advisor in the office of the Secretary General of UDA, emphasized the unfairness and immorality of using NGCDF to finance Master’s degree education. He stressed that NGCDF, initially designed for primary and secondary school infrastructure, should not serve as a source of funding for higher education.
  2. NGCDF’s Focus on Infrastructure:
    • The experts acknowledged NGCDF’s success in funding infrastructure projects in primary and secondary schools. They called for increased allocation of funds to this sector, emphasizing that NGCDF is not structured as a traditional bursary but rather as an initiative to develop educational infrastructure.
  3. Flat-Rate Bursaries and Concerns:
    • Nyajayi highlighted concerns about the distribution of NGCDF funds, stating that sometimes all students in a school receive a flat rate, ranging from Ksh500 to Ksh5,000, which may not adequately address the needs of all deserving students.
  4. MPs’ Use of NGCDF for Popularity:
    • Dr. Vincent Gaitho, Secretary General of the National Association of Private Universities, questioned the sincerity of Members of Parliament (MPs) who complain about delayed NGCDF funds. He suggested that MPs often use NGCDF as a platform for popularity, inviting many people to cheque issuance events.
  5. Proposed Reforms for Sustainability:
    • Dr. Gaitho recommended introducing a bill in Parliament to authorize NGCDF bursary funds to become revolving funds. He suggested that beneficiaries should pay back, creating a sustainable system to support future students.
  6. Education Budget Challenges:
    • The experts acknowledged that while education receives a significant portion of the national budget, much of it goes to salaries and recurrent expenditures, leaving a deficit for crucial infrastructure development.
  7. Call for Collaboration and Talent Recognition:
    • Dr. Gaitho called for increased collaboration between universities and industries to bridge the gap between students’ skills and industry demands. He advocated for a selected intake of students into universities based on talents such as sports, drama, and music, providing alternatives for those who did not meet minimum university qualification requirements.

Advocating NGCDF’s Core Purpose:

The experts’ concerns highlight the need to maintain the integrity and intended focus of NGCDF on basic education infrastructure. Proposals for reforms, including the establishment of revolving funds, aim to ensure the sustainability of financial support for students while preserving the core mission of the fund.

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