This is an inclusive statement from KUSO chair Antony Manyara
27th February 2019
Representing 1,388,497 University Students from the nooks and crannies of this nation, KUSO engaged the CS over very pertinent issues that have been causing perturbation and disconcertment amongst comrades.
The following are the Concerns, Proposals by KUSO & agreement with CS.
1. HELB LOANS.
In solidarity with the Kenyan youths and students’ fraternity specifically those who have graduated we submitted our collective grievances against unpopular sudden change of policy requiring students to be subjected to suppressive draconian policies and obligations to clear their outstanding HELB loan balances with a time frame of one year upon graduation. The decision to use police to hunt down around 74,000 loan defaulters.
KUSO Agenda Footing:
a) Upon graduation , graduates take time to secure employment as market trends dictate the acquisition and attainment of working experience.
b) Young graduates are subjected to long overstretched procedures and frustrating clearance by CRB, HELB, KRA, EACC and the acquisition of the certificate of good conduct.
(c) Kenyans come to terms with social economic crimes and menace such as grand corruption, misappropriation and embezzlement of public resources and bad governance. The perpetrators of those social economic evils enjoy freedom without being held accountable and instead they focus desperate and frustrated youths who are victims of circumstances .
a) The grace period of repayment be extended for at least 48 months .
b) The current loan defaulted written off .
c) The interest rate reduced to at least 2%.
d) Reduction of the monthly pay for the unemployed from ksh 1500 to at least ksh 500
CS Amina’s REMARKS:
1. No unemployed person is being targeted as far as paying HELB is concerned.
2. Every employee earning a salary must PAY HELB. This was supported by KUSO leaders to ensure continuing students benefit, to also provide a window for increasing the allocations.
3. Highly commended 2018/2019 KUSO Leadership for successfully engaging HELB board and attaining an increase of HELB for students from Kshs 35,000 to Kshs 42,000. She termed that as historic.
HELB CEO Ringera Remarks:
1. KUSO to support moves to have employed HELB defaulters pay HELB fund so that to encourage a further increase in HELB for continuing students.
2. HELB board highly gets concerned about the increasing number or vulnerable students when it comes to ‘sponsors’ and ‘Ben 10s’, hence guided by KUSO is much willing to increase HELB to ensure students get enough, too enough not to engage in such uncouth means.
3. HELB board seeks help from KUSO in coming up with a national University education alumni section that seeks to have the willing successful members of the public in contributing into boosting HELB allocations to continuing students. That was uplifted and supported by KUSO.
2. FEE INCREMENT – University Senates
We questioned why despite the outrageous scarcity and economic stretches in the country… why Universities are debating on fee increment instead of necessary deliberations to lower fees to accommodate students in schools.
So far it is confirmed that 116 students drop out of schools due to scarcity every semester countrywide. This should be addressed aggressively by the ministry if at all the Agenda on Sustainable Education is a Noble concern.
CS Amina’s Remarks:
1. An assurance to KUSO that no University will increase fees under her watch.
She had instructed the Vice Chachellor Technical University of Kenya (TUK) to clarify his sentiments.
He promptly wrote a circular withdrawing and dismissing his earlier remarks of a plot to increase fees.
2. CS assured KUSO leaders that if any change has to be made to fee structures, will be to decrease rather than increase since she highly visualizes a country where education is basically affordable if not completely free.
3. COURSE/CURRICULUM REVIEW
KUSO had asked 133 Courses removed from the Universities be given a grace period for review and scrutiny to consider the subjects of the action and the Ministry to engage Students before undertaking such actions as those pursuing the courses and/or with interest in the said courses stands to suffer.
In the same breathe, KUSO asked the CS to consider lessening standardization to ensure more students are admitted in the Universities so as to occupy the already idle slots, thus boosting University resources hence slashing the urge to increase fees.
CS Amina’s Remarks:
1. Amina however dismissed the reports on social media that the ministry was planning to scrap of some courses.
2. CS amidst that discussion approved employment for one of the student leaders who had earlier expressed concerns over unemployment: Duke Onyang’i Sokobe and directed him to report to office the following day.
(That was highly appreciated by KUSO leaders.)
3. CS assured leaders that in her tenure as CS she had ensured a change in intake of students and still is focusing on it – so as Universities admit more and are well financed to sustain day to day activities.
4. MENTORSHIP PROGRAMS
KUSO proposed Mentorship Programs Drive the same way we have the Beyond Zero Campaign. Also, Innovation hubs should be strengthened to accommodate students’ innovative ideas
CS Amina approved that agenda.
5. ESTABLISHMENT OF AN ADDITIONAL DEPARTMENT IN THE MINISTRY – of STUDENT AFFAIRS.
In our submission, we highlighted that KUSO has encountered a vast number of students complains which are equally crucial to be taken on an account by the ministry. Our proposal on establishment of department of student affairs will explicitly put on a fair count of all the retrospective encounters of students in Kenya.
The department will strategically engage diverse educational policies to cater on a range of these issues from policy formulation to ground encounter.
The Department will:
(a) Seek to handle issues to do with Student expulsions and suspensions.
KUSO Proposed to have the department formulate guidelines governing students conduct so that students receive punishments which are considerate and not draconian or oppressive.
(b) Seek to have immunity on student leaders – suspension or expulsion. If the course is just and purely within the Matrices of advocacy or political exodus.
(c) Regulate and govern Dean of Student Offices in our Universities.
(d) Handle Accommodation of Students.
(e) handle Affordable and Quality Meals for students.
(f) Ensure Quality healthcare for students.
(g) Career Placement.
6. Participation and involvement of the ministry towards raising and managing employment standards of graduates.
CS Amina challenges KUSO to form a database of student leaders first who will be helped by the ministry in job security.
7. COMRADES’ OPEN CONVERSATION WITH THE CS
KUSO requested the CS to consider having an engagement with students directly to hear their concerns and possibly provide solutions.
CS Amina: She highly supported this move and instructed the UNSA Chair to fast-track this and engage the ministry to make it a success.
She assured leaders, the very primary goal of her ministry is to ensure all learners are attended to.
8. HEAD OF STATE COMMENDATION FOR THE KUSO CHAIR
KUSO Leadership, University of Nairobi, HELB CEO Ringera and senior officials of the ministry of education recommended the KUSO Chair to be considered by the CS for Head of State Commendation Proposal to the President.
CS Amina approved this and promised to ensure it happens.
Hon. Antony Manyara, S. Arch.,
President, UNSA, KUSO & AU-ASU