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Inside Ruto’s plan to abolish HELB

Ruto’s plan to abolish HELB and TVET funding and to establish national skills and funding council.

At the State House in Mombasa to ring in the new year, President William Ruto declared that his administration intended to abolish the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB), which has supported millions of college students for years.

According to Ruto, he has used the first four months of his administration to build the foundation for a revolution in the field of education.

The President remarked that he sought to provide a better alternative to address the myriad of challenges university students face. 

He promised to abolish HELB and TVET funding and to establish national skills and funding council to connect the two levels in order to provide a credit transfer framework and to support academic progression.

“In the last four months I have been in office, I have laid a perfect groundwork that will transform the country’s tertiary education system.

“Instead of different funding systems, the government will establish the National Skill and Funding Council (NSFC) that will amalgamate the existing funding bodies,” the President announced.

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Ruto revealed that the NSFC will be better than HELB as it will increase funding by up to 45 percent.

The National Education Fund will mobilize grants, bursaries, and scholarships from private and public sponsors to cover non-tuition costs.

“The new body will double the current HELB funds from Ksh11 billion to Ksh22 billion,” Ruto revealed.

“NSFC will further mobilize grants, bursaries, and scholarships from private and public sponsors to cover non-tuition costs,” he added.

Ruto also proposed establishing a public university and increasing the number of technical universities from three to eight across the eight regions from the current three.

Universities will be forced to focus on their comparative advantage in education.

“For example, the universities in Mombasa should have courses that focus on the blue economy while those in Turkana will focus on mining.”

Ruto’s decision was based on the report compiled by the task force set to review the Competency-Based Curriculum. 

Concerning tertiary education, the president mandated the task force to recommend a governance and financing framework for TVET training and development, university education, research, and training.

The “Higher Education Loans Board Act,” Cap 213A, an Act of Parliament, created the HELB as a statutory body in July 1995.

Its responsibility is to finance Kenyan university students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs in East African institutions of higher learning accredited by the Commission for University Education (CUE).

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