Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) CEO Mr Charles Ringera yesterday said that the main student financier in Kenya shall release its student smart cards early next year.
Mr Ringera while addressing guests in a meeting hosted by the education cabinet secretary yesterday said that they were looking at ways of ensuring that the loans they give to students are used appropriately adding that it has come to their attention that most of the funds end up being used in clubs and alcohol and beverage premises within the institutions.
The issue of student cards had earlier on elicited a harsh reaction from the student fraternity. HELB announced late last year that it had conducted its survey over the card and that some of the said cards were already in use but as an experiment in various institutions. The students arguid that most of them were old enough to make choices and that by the body offering to give them cards would indicate that the individuals are hellbent and only want to act in a dictatorial manner towards them.
HELB has been looking for ways to maximise the input of funds given to students especially by increasing the likelihood of the funds being used by the students to finance education and not luxurious needs. The CEO said that many students are needy and therefore it was not wise for others to misuse the money while their friends and classmates continue suffering.
Many of the officers who attended the meeting agreed with the HELB Chief and called on to institutions to make sure that they worked hand in hand with the board to ensure that they deliver their mandate effectively and efficiently. Most of the Vice Chancellors from different universities also promised to give the board the support they need by ensuring that they carry out necessary awareness campaigns in their various institutions.
Student leaders who are as well expected to play an important role through the whole process are yet to issue statement over the issue. The card will be partitioned such that students will be use only a particular amount in the loan for personal things while the rest will go to stationery and other educational materials.