Students threaten protests over plan to slash Helb loan

Wednesday, December 9th, 2020 00:00 |
A section of students from Mt Kenya region at a press briefing in Thika yesterday. Photo/PD/Mathew Ndungu

Students from institutions of higher learning in Mount Kenya region yesterday threatened mass protests against the government’s move to increase tuition fees and reduction of Higher Education Loans Board (Helb) allocations.

The students, who cut across public and private institutions,  condemned Helb’s  move to reduce the average funding allocation to students from Sh 45,000 to Sh37,000 due to reeling economic effects of Covid-19 pandemic.

Addressing journalists at a Thika hotel, the students from Mount Kenya University (MKU), Thika Technical Training Institute and Gretsa University among other colleges, accused the government of infringing their fundamental rights to education.

Led by Joshua Saitoti Sanet, the MKU student’s president, the learners took issue with Helb boss Charles Ringera who last week attributed the new decision to hostile economic challenges adding that it was informed by the fact that most loanees had defaulted on loan repayment due to loss of jobs.

“ We will bring learning in all institutions to a standstill until we are heard. Fee increment has happened in other countries and the consequences are known,” said Saitoti.

The students expressed fear that most of them would not afford the new university charges and called  on the State to make prompt interventions to reach a consensus with all stakeholders.

They also dismissed as unacceptable, the government’s plot to slash funding for private universities and argued that the move was impractical as they host to thousands of government-sponsored students.

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