Free day public secondary schools and doubling the allocation for student loans in universities and technical colleges are key Jubilee Party plans to improve education.
President Uhuru Kenyatta’s pledge to increase spending for the Higher Education Loans Board (Helb) could be a boon for students pursuing higher education.
Helb has been allocated Sh10 billion in the next financial year which begins on July 1, meaning the promised spending can only come in 2018-2019.
“Double the funds available under Helb to provide loans and bursaries for TVET and university students,” says Jubile Party in its list of promises for the education sector.
Raising Helb’s allocation could have huge ramifications for higher learning as many children from poor family backgrounds are unable to get university or technical training.
Kenya has about 600 accredited colleges that absorb most of the students who have sat the Form Four exams and are eligible to seek funding from Helb.
Nearly 89,000 candidates who scored C+ and above in last year’s secondary school exams have already been assured of places in public universities, where learning is subsidised.
Jubilee has also promised to pursue a 100 per cent transition from primary to secondary school. Unlike the Opposition’s pledge to ensure that learning up to Form Four is free, Uhuru’s promise is more modest – no school fees will be charged in public day secondary schools.
In essence, parents would still be paying school fees for their children to attend boarding public secondary schools.
Tougher enforcement of the school fees guidelines would be the only hope for poor parents under Jubilee’s promises. Uhuru said in his manifesto that his Government had subsidised secondary school education by paying Sh12,870 for each student in public schools since coming to office.
He also hopes to introduce reforms in technical training to enable graduates to have more relevant skills, a promise he made in the previous manifesto before the 2013 polls.
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