Ruto administration to merge higher education funding and placement to enhance efficiency amidst row over bursaries in counties

  • 13 Jan 2023
  • 2 Mins Read
  • 〜 by Mercy Kamau

President William Ruto has denounced claims that he plans to get rid of the Higher Education Loan Board (HELB).

Speaking during an interview with journalists at State House, Nairobi, on Friday, January 6, he said his administration is geared towards strategic measures and solutions for the Ministry of Education especially in the institutions of higher learning.

Further, Dr Ruto said his administration is also planning to set up a body that will ensure that HELB, Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS) among other bodies that govern institutions of higher learning work in unison.

The President added that most public universities are bankrupt and ought to absorb students the government can support rather than a huge number it cannot support.

“In my opinion it is possible. As you place a student, you must also know if there is funding for that child and if there is a supporting bursary for that student to finish studying,” President Ruto said.

“How feasible is it for the government to support so many students with little money instead of supporting the number of students that they can, with adequate resources to make sure that they get the best training? So, that’s the conversation we’re going to have with public universities. And we are going to have that conversation even with the private universities. We should be honest with ourselves,” he added.

On parents who are able to pay fees for their children in private schools but get HELB or other funding by the government, the President expressed his displeasure saying that it would not be fair or logical.

“If a parent is able to pay for their child, in primary and in secondary, why don’t we allow them to pay for their child in university so that we support children of the people who cannot afford. Let us think of how we can support them, rather than pretending that we are able to support all the students,” President Ruto said.

This comes amidst wrangles among sections of MCAs and governors over the allocation of bursaries. In Kiambu County for instance, Governor Kimani Wamatangi and the MCAs have been at loggerheads for days over the management of the Ward Fund.

In an interview on Wednesday, January 11, Kiambu Senator Karungo wa Thangwa expressed his support for the MCAs to get the Ward Development Funds.

“If an MP is fighting for CDF, what is wrong with an MCA having the WDF,” the Senator posed. “If at all we want to nurture this leadership, I can tell any governor for free, with the experience I have had as an MCA, and as an executive, if you want peace with the MCAs, let’s have that development fund. You can call it equitable distribution of resources,” he said.

The new body will be crucial at this point and time as it will monitor and control all the processes from placement of students in institutions of higher learning to how the allocations and disbursements of funds will be done hence fairness and accountability.