What is the appropriate higher education finance model for Africa? Some reflections

  • M. Oketch University College London
Keywords: higher education finance, Africa's higher education, Kenya's higher education finance, income-contingent loans, graduate tax, human capital


The evolution of tertiary education financing models in Sub-Saharan Africa reflects a complex interplay between cultural, political, and economic forces. The transition, especially of universities, from vibrant centres of debate to subdued institutions under authoritarian regimes, coupled with the advent of market-driven economic reforms, has redefined universities’ role in Africa’s society. This article while not seeking to explore how these historical shifts have shaped the current landscape of tertiary education financing and its implications for the region, it does not forget them in considering the recent frameworks for higher education finance, especially in Kenya. It concludes that in Kenya’s case the evidence seems to support the argument that “free” provision alone might not inherently lead to expanded access and equitable outcomes. However, implementing a functional income-contingent contribution or “graduate tax” system is complex and relies heavily on a well-organised formalised market. In the case of Kenya, the presence of a large informal employment sector and growing graduate unemployment poses challenges in accurately capturing income and enforcing such a tax system as a mechanism for financing expanded tertiary education system.



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How to Cite
Oketch, M. 2023. “What Is the Appropriate Higher Education Finance Model for Africa? Some Reflections ”. South African Journal of Higher Education 37 (6), 131-52. https://doi.org/10.20853/37-6-6104.