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President William Ruto has confirmed that his administration will do away with the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) and instead come up with a different formula to finance institutions.

In a joint media interview at State House Nairobi on Wednesday evening, President Ruto said many universities in the country are experiencing financial woes as a result of poor funding, even as students continue to throng higher education institutions.

In the new formula to salvage the current financial crisis in the institutions, the Head of State discloses that HELB, the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS) and the University Funding Board (UFB) will be merged to achieve effectiveness and efficiency.

“We have a huge problem with higher education. Auditor General already has said almost all universities are bankrupt because they have many problems,” President Ruto said.

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“Recently, some university managements were taken to court because they have not paid salaries for lecturers and other staff. The case is just chaotic because the government capitation is just only 52 percent of the funds they need.”

He further added, “As a government, even if we look at Kenya Kwanza manifesto, we will put together HELB, KUCCPS and University Funding Board so that we will not have one institution doing funding, another places students in universities and colleges and they do not share notes. This is what leads to confusion because students continue to join universities with no enough funding and [we] find ourselves here.”

“We will ensure that there is harmony and we will harmonise all these institutions so that when a student joins a particular university or college, the government knows what amount the institution should be given.”

The President says that unless the current crisis in the institutions are dealt with, the quality of education in universities and colleges is likely to decline.

“This is the only way we will bring order in our universities so that we don’t have institutions which are cash-strapped. If this issue is not addressed now, we’re going to interfere with quality of education in our universities,” he said.

The Kenya Kwanza administration will establish a national skills and funding council to connect the two levels in order to provide a credit transfer framework and to support academic progression.

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

President Ruto also underscored that his administration will focus on Technical Training and Vocational Educational Training Institution (TVET).

“The issue of TVET had stopped some time back because there were people who were not understanding this sector. We are employing around 2,000 TVET tutors. We have 50 TVETs which are not equipped and we’re in talks with China and Germany to equip these institutions so that our youth will acquire skills and competence in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (stem),” said Dr Ruto.

Abolishing HELB has sparked harsh criticism from leaders who have asked President Ruto to reconsider the matter.

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