The National Assembly should move with speed and ensure that the government releases finances to the Higher Education Loans Board.
The call comes amid reports that the national students’ lender has written messages of regret to students that (learners) may not get the loans that they qualified for, owing to delays in release of finances from the government.
And Uasin Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago, now wants the national legislature to intervene and ensure that monies meant for HELB are released to facilitate empowerment of youth through technical education.
“We are calling on the national assembly to intervene, move with urgency so that the issue of lack of finances at HELB, meant for lending to learners at technical institutions, is solved and our youth continue to be in school,” said Mandago at a function in Cherangany, Trans Nzoia County, on Tuesday.
Governor Mandago is particularly worried about the fate of students studying at technical institutions across the country. The government started the Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) program to empower the youth in gears to try to solve the problem of unemployment.
Through this program, the government has been giving a bursary of Sh 30,000 to every youth joining any of the various technical institutes, with the learners also getting access to loans from HELB.
But Mandago’s concern is that the technical program, which is one of Jubilee projects and which should be President Uhuru Kenyatta’s legacy may go with the wind if HELB is not facilitated to ensure institutes churn out skilled personnel.
Mandago adds: “And the national assembly should treat this as a matter of serious urgency, otherwise they (parliamentarians) risk seeing the President’s legacy failing. Move urgently to ensure this project is sustained to become a legacy.”
“The President’s pillar of industrialization needs technical personnel and this is what we risk losing if our youth come back home due to fees that they would otherwise get through HELB,” he adds.
Governor Mandago, a strong believer of technical education as a tool to transform the economy of the country, has trained his government’s focus on sensitizing youth to acquire skills for both the market and for self-employment.
But Mandago has a hybrid raft of reasons why he supports TVET. “We shall be reducing unemployment when our youths get skills to wire our houses, build our stone walls, plumb our pipes and do our roads.”
“Our economy will be transformed if the youth we empower now come to take big infrastructure projects like these big bypasses, and roads that we are building.
“…and the reason is simple; when a local contractor gets a big project, the monies will circulate locally, unlike a foreign firm,” adds the articulate technical campaigner.
Mandago speaking to the fact that most big developments in the country are funded through international loans. The multi-billion projects are often awarded to foreign companies. His argument is that the country should raise contractors able to pick big contracts.
Trans Nzoia Deputy Governor, Dr Stanley Kenei and Member of Parliament for Cherangany, Joshua Kuttuny, were among leaders who attended the event.