University student’s leaders in Uasin Gishu have come out strongly to condemn the move by the National Government in reducing Higher Education Loan Board (HELB) loan budgetary allocation by nine per cent.
Speaking during a presser on Thursday, the student leaders insisted it was improper to deny students who hail from poor backgrounds academic loans despite the fact that Universities and Technical Training Colleges are overwhelmed by increased number of learners each year.
Universities Presidents Council Chair and Moi University President, Mr Albert Maloba, in his statement, decried the outcome as fatal and dangerous.
“What sustains students in Universities is this HELB loan and denying them will make poor students resort to antisocial and unlawful activities that will increase crime rate,” he observed.
He insisted they are fulfilling their mandate in advocating for students’ rights and if the government will not address their concerns, they will have no other option but to protest until their plight is addressed.
“The Government should be considerate on matters of education and give the sector maximum concentration. I want to caution Education CS Prof. Magoha on the plans they are hatching to elevate private universities over public entities. That’s akin to introducing business in the education docket, thus killing university education in the long run and these plans must be reversed,” he lamented.
On her part, Dorcas Jerop, Chairperson University of Eldoret, pleaded with the government to look into this matter with the urgency it deserves, because it will have a longer negative impact on the progress of the students.
“Comrades will drop out of school and some even will end up in wrong places including prison and even get killed in the process of nursing their frustrations. We have promising future leaders and the government should guard these precious assets for posterity,” she pleaded.
On her part, Moi University academic delegate Sharon Kiptoo said, “Covid-19 pandemic has already immobilized the economy and students will drop out of school for lack of funds and in the end big dreams will be shattered just like that.”
“We have a program in place to assist these students in managing the HELB loan and invest in income generating activities. This will help them not to solely depend on the loan, but also other lawful income generating activities,” said Judy Mwende, a student leader at University of Eldoret.
The student leaders called upon the government to instead increase university loans so as to enable students complete their education.
By Hassan Adan Ali