In a notice circulated widely on 19th last month, Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) ignited a heated discussion on the fate of their beneficiaries who have since defaulted in repaying their loans. The board had disclosed that plans were underway to name and shame some 85,000 defaulters if they do not repay their student loans.
HELB was to publish photos of the men and women who have failed to repay their loans, now standing at Ksh50 billion ($500 million). The board gave defaulters 30 days to come forward and explain how they will repay the loans or face the shame.
Helb said some of the beneficiaries in default have not responded to previous communication, therefore hindering financial support to other deserving Kenyans.
The board was to take legal action against each defaulter after publishing their details but this seems to be slowly fading with the action having faced strong opposition from both the public and members of parliament. Indeed, it was among the issues which were exclusively used to ridicule government in a #WajingaNyinyi hit released days ago by poet King Kaka.
Following the memo and its date, Helb would have published the names of defaulters on 20th this month but ten days later, no one is talking about the threat or even their next move.
Last year, Helb recovered more than Ksh500 million ($5 million) following a two-month amnesty that was issued by the government.
According to Helb, it cannot trace 17,000 defaulters, while by last year 85,000 loan defaulters were owing the agency.
A total of 169,909 graduates had fully repaid their loans worth Ksh13.2 billion ($132 million) by September 2017, while some 136,783 beneficiaries were servicing loans worth Ksh20.7 billion (207 million).
Since 1974, the university loan scheme has supported over 645,000 Kenyans to pursue higher education at a total cost of Ksh72 billion ($720 million).
The board will again add to their list of number of students they support in the year 2020 with about 125,000 students expected to join public and private universities for various degree programmes under the government sponsorship programme.
Do you think that HELB will make good of their threat to publish the names of defaulters in 2020? If not, should they forgive and forget? Share with us your thoughts on our comment box, Facebook Page, Twitter or Mail us to firstname.lastname@example.org . We will sample some of the responses and publish.