HELB (Amendment) Bill, sponsored by Kiharu MP Irungu Kangata whcih came into the limelight late last year that sought to protect jobless graduates from paying helb loan interests, giving regular or jab students in public universities priority in getting helb loans over private sponsored students (parallel) and making it mandatory for the board to give money to all Government-sponsored students in public universities was passed in parliament on August 20th 2015. The bill has been forwarded to the president for approval.
On the matter of loan interests Lugari MP Ayub Savula had this to say in parliament quote unquote “…. this amendment Bill is also bringing in an area where students who have not secured employment one year after completing their studies are given a grace period before they can start repaying the loan. You will find that such students have bank accounts and have not secured employment but when you look at loans accreditation bureaus, they put their names there as defaulters. If they start businesses they cannot access loans from banks because they are told that they have not paid money for the HELB yet they have not secured employment. If you look at the accreditation bureaus, you will find names of students who have not remitted payment to the HELB. They cannot secure loans yet they have not secured job opportunities”
On the matter of helb loan increase Kibra mp Kenneth Okoth had this to say in parliament quote unquote “…. This House must find a way to keep topping up the amount of money that HELB gets to make sure that all our young people looking for education have the money to go to college, whether it is technical trade schools for two years or for a university degree. Even those who are seeking opportunities to go beyond their first degree to do Masters should be allowed to apply on an equal footing….”
Helb will now be forced to provide proof if it rejects to give a loan to any government sponsored (JAB) student. Mr. Kanagata who was supported by Rarierad mp Nicholas Gumbo,Kibra mp Ken Okoth said that most regular students come from poor families and are in university for having worked hard and excelled in their KCSE with education as the only hope of success in their life unlike parallel students. However, parallel students can also apply for helb loan as they used to do.