Turkana governor Josphat Nanok has revealed that the County in partnership with the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) plans to disburse Ksh 50 M for students’ scholarship.
Nanok appealed to the County Assembly of Turkana to hasten the enactment of requisite regulations to operationalize the loan scheme.
The Governor said the County skills development fund had boosted the number of students in colleges and universities and promised to engage with Members of Parliament to streamline distribution of bursaries to ensure all needy students benefitted from the kitty.
Speaking in a meeting organised by the Turkana County University Students Association (TUCUSA), on Friday Governor Nanok challenged university students to be innovative and focused to be in a better position to engage with the County Government, partners and the private sector.
“You have to be proactive in developing innovative ideas which you can use to engage governments seek for funding. The annual TUCUSA gala can be a forum for innovative ideas and we can rope in the private sector to help students grow as we support the best ideas,” he said.
Commenting on unemployment, the Governor said the County would support investments through private sector as an alternative source of employment. He highlighted ongoing construction of Biashara Centres in Lodwar and Kakuma, which he said, will act as centres for business incubation to support business.
Nanok pledged to leverage on the good relationship with development organizations working in the county to provide internship opportunities for graduates in the County.
He announced that there were opportunities for mentorship for women leaders including within TUCUSA in the County Government’s partnership with Borlange Municipality of Sweden on development of Lodwar Municipality.
County Secretary Peter Eripete conceded that the County Government had encountered difficulties in filling positions in the County Public Service in technical fields such as engineering and medicine because of lack of graduates from Turkana.
He advised students to analyze the job market prior to making a choice on professional courses to undertake in university.
County Executive for Education, Sports and Social Protection Patrick Losike said he had instituted reforms in bursary disbursement to ensure needy students benefited and had set Sh20, 000 as the minimum to be awarded to university students.
TUCUSA leadership led by Tom Kiyonga (President) and Ivy Mana (Vice President) spoke on behalf of the students’ body.
Others present were County Executives Robert Lotelengo (Finance and Economic Planning), Chris Aletia (Agriculture, Pastoral Economy and Fisheries), Jane Ajele (Health and Sanitation) and Jennifer Nawoi (Trade, Gender and Youth Affairs).
By Peter Gitonga