University students protest over reduction of HELB funding

KENYA
University students protest over reduction of HELB funding

University students in various campuses have protested the move of the National Treasury reducing budget allocation to Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) by Ksh3.7 billion in financial year 2024/2025.

Led by Naomi Chebet, the Kenya Methodist University students leader, they held a protest citing how the reduction of HELB budget would affect them.

“The number of students has increased by about 200,000 for the last five years and therefore if anything is to be done to HELB, is increasing the money,” said Chebet.

“The new education funding model has become expensive and there are many students who come from humble backgrounds who rely on HELB to continue with their studies,” she added.

This was after the National Treasury proposed to allocate Ksh33.3 billion to HELB, a 10% decrease from previous allocation.

At the same time, Evans Muchanga from Chuka University said the reduction will see many HELB beneficiaries fail to complete their studies.

“HELB is the salary of our comrades, without it we cannot survive,” he said.

However, the proposal is still awaiting approval from the MPs.

Meanwhile, the students urged the MPs not to approve the bill, suggesting reduction of HELB funding.

“We are calling on the legislators and other stakeholders including the Ministry of Education to reject the proposal because if it is approved, higher education in Kenya will only be a reserve of the rich, the poor will never further their studies,” Chebet said.

Under the proposed new budget a student will receive a range of ksh37000-ksh47000 down from the previous ksh35000-ksh60000.

This move has been met by resistance as it may hinder a great number of needy students from accessing higher learning institutions.

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