‘No Student Will Be Turned Away From University,’ CS Machogu Says Amid HELB Stalemate
Written by Inka FM on 24 August 2023
Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu has assured parents and students set to join various public universities next month that no one will be turned away during admission due to lack of fees.
Machogu, who appeared before the National Assembly Committee on Education on Thursday, said despite only 30 per cent of the cohort having applied for government scholarships, the other 70 per cent need not worry as they will be accommodated.
He revealed that he will be issuing a circular to Vice Chancellors to ensure no student is sent away.
This as hundreds of hopeful university students were still queuing at HELB offices at Anniversary Towers hoping for a chance to apply for the government financing all of them at the mercy of a slow system.
“Treasury is giving us funds for 2nd, 3rd and 4th years which will be disbursed to universities as we are concluding the process of categorization for the 1st year students. 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.
Machogu addressed concerns raised by MPs over the process of categorization and disbursement of scholarship funds and loans which is incomplete and could cost students the opportunity.
“We discussed the matter with the Vice Chancellors and they agreed to our proposal but I will write a circular,” he stated.
Higher Education Principal Secretary Beatrice Inyangala added: “The students are already visiting the facility and are being assisted and we will ensure this happens until they settle down and get on with their studies.”
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 as the government mulls an extension of time.
HELB CEO Charles Ringera said: “We have built capacity at the Huduma Center so that they can apply from there, we are working with the Interior ministry to fast track the process.”
Cs Machogu noted: “We will not like to lock out any person, and if you have an application 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.”
As of Thursday, 75,272 students out of 285,000 enrolled in universities and TVETs had successfully made their application; questions raised about those who were yet to attain 18 years.
Nyando MP Jared Okello stated: “You are criminalising finishing Form Four at 16, we are opening doors for crooks who will offer to help.”
CS Machogu responded: “We have been able to analyze this because we have had some sort of problem. The system has some kind of jam such that we apply and the system is not able to absorb. The validation process has also had challenges.”
Despite the assurance, at the HELB offices in Anniversary Towers, sad and frustrated students were lining up to seek assistance ahead of the September 7th deadline.
Some of the students are not new to the challenges, last year they had to forgo the loan due to the same system malfunction.
Majority of students who cleared secondary school last year are worried about being locked out of the fund, something that might tamper with their quest for education because their parents cannot afford to pay full school fees.
They want the government to extend the deadline for HELB application.
The new funding model will only apply to 2022 KCSE candidates.