Deputy President William Ruto talks to a five year old girl identified as Zawadi Kayo after she recited a poem during Mount Kenya University graduation ceremony at the main campus in Thika. On the left is MKU Chairman Simon Gicharu.The DP announced the government will double the funding to Higher Education Loans Board(HELB) from the current Sh 7.5 to Sh 15 billion.PHOTO BY MAICHUHIE.
The Government has promised to double the allocation to the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) to ensure needy bright students in public and private universities pursue studies.
Speaking on Friday during Mount Kenya University graduation ceremony in Thika, Deputy President William Ruto said the Government will increase the allocation to Helb from the current Sh7.5 billion to Sh15 billion annually.
While acknowledging that Helb was facing challenges in reclaiming money from beneficiaries, Ruto revealed the Government will put in place modalities to ensure that no student misses out on the funds.
He said the Government had reviewed the Helb loan repayment period putting in to consideration the low employment opportunities for graduates.
“The Government has instructed the Ministry of Education to see to it that all students who have benefited from loans by Helb should be given a two-year grace period before they start repayment.
“This will give them ample time to look for jobs or start their own businesses and get money for repaying the loans,” Ruto said.
The DP added that the Government has also set aside Sh500 million to pay fees for students in middle level colleges including technical training institutes and Kenya Medical Training colleges.
A further Sh15 billion will go towards supporting the internship programme for students.
“The Government has already had a discussion with Kenya Private Sector Alliance and Kenya Association of Manufacturers over the programme.
“No graduate will be required to pay for the internships and it is our resolve to help in sharpening their skills and even help them create jobs,” he said.
On curriculum review, Ruto said the Government and stakeholders will focus on aligning education and training on requirements of the job market as well as Vision 2030.
He said Kenya was now ready for economic take-off citing projects such as the Standard Gauge Railway, construction of 10,000km of roads and technical training colleges country wide.
Ruto opened the Mount Kenya University new Alumni Plaza which was built at a cost of Sh1 billion.
The 12-storey building will host the administration block and the radio and television studios.
Former Kenyatta University Vice-Chancellor Olive Mugenda who was the guest speaker asked university staff to be role models by setting high ethical and value standards.
A total of 6,603 graduates were conferred with various degrees, diplomas and certifications. Five were given doctorate degrees.