Technical students to get Sh1.3bn set aside for loans

The Ministry of Education has disbursed Sh1.3 billion for training students in technical institutions.

The money is set to benefit more than 40,000 students from the institutions who have applied for Higher Education Loans Board (Helb) loans.

Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i asked more students to apply for such loans.

The funds will benefit students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem), a new approach towards training in Kenya that is meant to balance industry needs.

Dr Matiang’i made the announcement during a tour of Nyandarua Institute of Science and Technology.

He was accompanied by his Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs colleague Sicily Kariuki.

Dr Matiang’i indicated that there was a shortage of skilled craftsmen, artisans and other technical oriented people in the country, something that has been precipitated by how Kenyans have been trained in schools in the past.

“We have many people trained in fields that we don’t have jobs for and have jobs in areas in which we lack skilled manpower,” Dr Matiang’i said, adding that Kenya was importing welders when it had the capacity to train such experts in its technical training institutes.

He decried the fact that only 20 per cent of students in public universities were undertaking Stem courses as opposed to 80 per cent who are in humanities and social sciences branches.

“There is a need to balance the ratio of artisans, technicians and professionals in appropriate fields,” Dr Matiang’i said, adding that the government was shifting its policy by putting more resources into Stem.

He lamented that many top middle-level colleges had been converted into universities, which he said created a mismatch between training and industry needs.

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