Kenya is holding its first Investor Conference on the development of University Hostels by Public Private Partnerships (PPP) to showcase to investors the many exciting opportunities of investment in the public universities student accommodation.
The one-day conference brought together more than 100 local and international investors keen on securing investment opportunities in the University PPP Hostel Program. The first phase of the program seeks to develop 25,000 bed capacity in three public universities namely Moi, Embu and South Eastern University of Kenya (SEKU).
The Investor Conference cum Pre-bid Meeting held today follows issuance of Request of Qualification (RFQ) on December 11th2017 to commence the competitive procurement. The RFQ closes on 28th February, after which the pre-qualified private firms will be invited to submit financial and technical bids for the projects.
Each project will be procured separately though prospective investors, who are allowed to bid for more than one project as long as they can demonstrate sufficient capacity to undertake the projects.
According to Eng. Stanley Kamau, the director for PPP Unit, most public universities have expressed interest in developing various education facilities through the PPP Model.
“The PPP Model has attracted most public institutions in the country keen to attract private investment in a context of competing public needs. The PPP model is also preferred mainly due to its ability to tie in the operation and maintenance aspect of an infrastructure asset, meaning facilities developing are able to remain in a great condition for the entire life of the contract” said Kamau.
The vice-chancellors for Moi University, Embu and SEKU told investors in the country there is a huge demand for quality accommodation all around their universities.
“If you’re at Moi for instance, when you add up the hostel capacity in the university and that developed by the private sector around our university, there is still a huge demand, which we hope will be plugged through the PPP Model,” said the Moi University Deputy Vice Chancellor Professor Nathan Ongechi.
According to the Ministry of Education, universities are facing a major bed capacity shortage, which is a hindrance in availing access to higher learning both within the public and private sector. Kenya has 72-chartered private and public universities with an estimated bed capacity of 300,000, against a total enrolment of over 770,000 students.
There has been a steady rise in student enrolment in universities in the last four years. In 2017, about 88,000 students were enrolled to public universities compared to 50,000 in 2013. Currently, the 31 public universities are only able to accommodate 25% of all the students enrolled forcing thousands of students to seek alternative accommodation arrangement some of which have had a negative impact on students.
Due to the shortage in bed capacity, universities have had to extend courses and put in place student rotation to accommodate more students. The net effect has been on students who have ended up taking longer to graduate from public institutions.
Under the PPP agreement, Moi University will boost its bed capacity by an additional 15,000 beds, SEKU by 5,400 beds and Embu University College by an additional 4,000 beds.