University education in Kenya was considered one of the most prestigious acquisitions in the past years. Right now it is anything but it. Read on:
I joined Moi University as a freshman in September of 2014 to pursue a bachelor's degree in engineering following lots of years of hard work in high school and primary school. I knew my dream had come true. Of course, I had performed well.
However, coming from a less privileged family, I had one challenge: money. It didn't seem like it was in the build-up to joining the institution. After all, I'd receive HELB loan which would cater to all my needs. At least, that is what my parents and a few relatives who knew rumors of higher education told me. In my village then only rumors about the university were all one could conjure. We were wrong!
Be that as it may, I joined. A month in my little pocket money runs out. HELB loan has not arrived. I call my parents trying to explain my situation but they keep on telling me about the loan. Panic sets in... my story for another day.
Hundreds of thousands of university students leave deplorable lives in our so-called institutions of higher learning. For instance, I received a HELB loan of Kshs. 35,000. Kshs. 13,400 and Kshs.12,800 were deposited to my bank account in semesters 1 and 2 respectively.
A direct deposit of Kshs. 4,000 goes to the school account every semester. With fees for semester 1 at Ksh. 21,000, I'm left with a deficit of Kshs. 7,600! I have not paid for Kshs. 4,000 accommodation, I've not bought food and the list is endless. Where do we turn to? Without much thought, one turns to bursaries. Reach out to these offices and they would tell you without batting an eye that there is a loan in the university that pays for all you need.
The student is left helpless. They start by deferring one semester with a thin hope of getting help, the one academic year. Eventually, after months of hunger and frustration, the young man/woman bows out!
The situation can only worsen this year. With the wanton raising of university fees under the scorching pangs of COVID-induced economic times, expect 20% of the current university admissions to drop out in between their studies.
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