MPs Want Age Limit For HELB Applicants Struck Off
The parliament’s committee on education has launched a push for reforms on higher education loans, proposing that the age limit for applicants be struck off.
The committee grilled education ps, Julius Jwan and HELB CEO Charles Ringera over the HELB age limit, accusing them of blocking deserving students from acquiring higher education.
Homa Bay MP Peter Kaluma said several learners have been denied an opportunity to join university for lack of national identity card or the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) pin number having not attained the age of 18.
“So many students have not yet taken their slots in university and it’s because they are underage. Not because they did not perform. Helb is denying students their right of education just because of age,” he said.
Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu said: “You are using this as an excuse to keep students out. The whole idea of this loan is to make it easy for students to get to get to university but it’s starting to look like the loans are making it harder,” he said.
Helb CEO Charles Ringera however said budget constraint is the biggest hurdle in the sector. He said the portal is always open for the underage to apply once they are of age.
“We are now working towards attaching parents to sign on behalf of students yet to be of age,” said Ringera.
Underage students from 2016-2020
2016: 3,500 students
2017: 3,300 students
2018: 2,900 students
2019: 2,500 students
2020: 2,200 students