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Kenya injects funds to promote tertiary education in 2018

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya plans to set aside some 134 million U.S. dollars to promote access to tertiary education in 2018, a senior government official said on Thursday.

Amina Mohamed, the Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Education, told a media briefing in Nairobi that the funds will be used to subsidize fees for approximately 294,000 university and vocational training students.

“The funds are meant to assist those who would ordinarily not afford higher education so as to increase the skills levels in the country,” Mohamed said.

“The student soft loans help to advance the national agenda of ensuring no Kenyan misses out on education for want of financing,” she said during the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) Employer Engagement Forum.

HELB draws its funding from the Government’s exchequer as well as loan repayments from past beneficiaries.

Mohamed noted that 45 million dollars is expected to be recovered from beneficiaries in 2018, up from 40 million dollars in the previous year.

The student loans will be provided via the state-owned HELB that acts as a revolving fund to finance higher education.

She noted that the government has also partnered with the private sector to support 20,000 students at a cost of eight million dollars.

“These external resources have helped in bridging the gap arising from insufficient funding from the National Treasury,” he said.

In 2017, the government sponsored 225,000 students to undertake various higher education courses at a cost of 100 million dollars.

According to the ministry of education, since 1974, 396,680 loan accounts worth 475 million dollars have matured for repayment; while 264,000 loanees holding 245 million dollars have not matured.

“Of the 396,680 loan accounts, a total of 175,003 loanees have completed their loan repayment valued at 167 million dollars,” the cabinet secretary said.

Mohamed said that the government is currently exploring other resource mobilization strategies to achieve 100 percent Universal Higher Education Financing as currently the majority of students pay for their own education needs.

She said that the government mostly finances students in universities in Kenya as well as the East African Community member states.

“However, this year we hope to spend 20 million dollars to fund education for Kenyan students in universities outside the East African region in nations such as South Africa, China, United States, and European nations,” she added.



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