The Higher Education Loans Board is at the center of controversy after it failed to disburse money into students’ accounts for the current academic year.
Writing to the media, Babu Owino, the President of Students Organization of Nairobi University (SONU) said, “by authority of all the university students of Kenya, we hereby notify the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) of our intention to peacefully protest, demonstrate, picket and act massively in their offices on Friday 19th September 2014, from 7.00 am”.
There are reports that indicate that most students have not received their monies since January and HELB apparently is postponing the disbursement of monies until January next year.
“This is going to have a detrimental effect to our studies and stay on campus,” said Mark, a student at the University of Nairobi.
Posting on its twitter account, HELB argued that it is facing serious cash challenges.
Speaking to capital campus, Paul Owino insisted that he understands that HELB faces serious cash challenges but regardless of that, “we want money or a massive demonstration is coming”.
It is expected that over 160,000 students will take part in the demonstration, according to Babu
“Last but not least, we have successfully informed the Kenya Police of our Friday protest to HELB offices in Anniversary Towers, Nairobi. Fortunately, the police have agreed to provide security to all the 160,000 students that have so far confirmed their participation in the peaceful protest,” the statement continued.
Following this, thousands of students have posted on Facebook with Choi Joram saying that “The government doesn’t like indoor conventions and it will only react when touched. Intellects can turn to agony as they contemplate on how to clear their fees and confirm their rooms yet they are entitled to get the money because we are clearly government sponsored”.
Another student, Mwalimu Asonga, said that, “HELB funds must be devolved from Ringera’s kitty to comrades Mpesa, credit cards, accounts and pension plan accounts otherwise failure to do this is Ringera’s attempt to breach comrades peace”.
In the statement, Owino reiterated that “the HELB management has failed to deposit money into our students’ accounts, despite myriad calls, pleas, meetings, concessions and requests from KUSO. As a result, most students have been unable to start their classes due to lack of fees. Also, several of our students have not secured accommodation and are melting economically and this is causing disharmony, acrimony and insecurity in our universities”.
“Our students have suffered enough. They are sick and tired of sleeping hungry, sick and tired of missing classes, sick and tired of sleeping on the streets, sick and tired of being broke, sick and tired of being sick and tired. It’s time for HELB to share in their sickness.
We therefore give HELB exactly 97 hours to release the money to our students. If they fail to comply, the consequences will be better imagined than experienced”.
HELB was however not available for comment but posted on its Twitter account
HELB is pleased to inform 2nd and subsequent applicants that their respective bank account will be credited from Wednesday 17/9/2014.^DK
— HELB (@HELBpage) September 15, 2014