Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu has assured parents and students joining public universities next month that no one will be turned away during admission due to lack of school fees.
Mr. Machogu, appearing before the National Assembly Committee on Thursday, said despite only 30 per cent of the cohort having applied for government scholarships, the other 70 per cent need not to worry as they will be accommodated.
The CS said he will be issuing a circular to Vice Chancellors to ensure no student is sent back home for lacking school fees. This comes at a time when hundreds of university-going students are making long queues at the Anniversary Towers hoping to get a chance to apply for HELB loan.
“We have made it clear to our public and private universities not to turn away students while we are doing the processing of the funding,” said the CS.
He addressed concerns raised by Members of Parliament over the process of categorization and disbursement of scholarship funds and loans which is incomplete and that could highly cost the students saying they have discussed the matter with the Vice Chancellors and they have agreed to the proposal.
Education officials said 70 per cent of students are yet to apply for government funding, with the legislators seeking to have the ministry extend the September 7th deadline so that no student is locked out, this comes as the government mulls an extension of time.
The HELB CEO Charles Ringera confirmed that they have built capacity at the Huduma Center so that students can apply from there and added that they are working with the Interior Ministry to first track the process.
Mr. Machogu maintained that the institution will not lock out any person. He asked those with applications to report in university and be guided on how to apply for the loan.
“We will not like to lock out any person, and if you have the application form you can just report in university and be guided on how to apply, we will be quite flexible because as you can see the numbers are still low,” said Mr. Machogu.
In a response to Nyando MP, Jared Okello who said that the institution is criminalizing finishing Form Four at 16, Machogu said that they have been able to analyze it and that, the system has some jam that when they apply, it is unable to absorb. He noted that the validation process has also had challenges.
Despite the assurance, a number of students are being worried about being locked out of the fund. This is because some of them have forgone the loan since last year. They want the government to extend the deadline for HELB application.
By Matildah Obaigwa