Home Entertainment No student will be deported from Finland, Governor Bii promises

No student will be deported from Finland, Governor Bii promises

by kenya-tribune

The County Government of Uasin Gishu has assured parents of 202 students studying in universities in Finland that none will have their studies discontinued, even after the institutions threatened to deport the learners for defaulting on fee payment.

It follows an investigation by the Uasin Gishu County Assembly that reported the loss of funds under the students’ airlift scheme.

On Monday, however, Governor Jonathan Bii said the county has suspended any further recruitment of new students to study in Finish universities, until the ongoing investigation by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) is concluded.

The governor said all the agents involved in airlifting of students from the county to study abroad should henceforth be vetted and accredited, to ensure compliance with legal requirements.

March deadline

Tampere University issued notice to send home 111 students for defaulting on fee payment, with Laurea and Jvaskyla universities following suit, after they gave 91 students up to the end of this month (March) to settle their fees or be kicked out of the country. 

Laurea University has put on hold studies for students pursuing nursing and physiotherapy until the tuition fees for the second semester are paid.

The governor hosted three MPs on Monday, namely Mr Oscar Sudi (Kapseret), Ms Janet Sitienei (Turbo), and Mr Samuel Chepkonga (Ainabkoi), to discuss the status of the Finland-Uasin Gishu study programme.

“We have agreed that all students who are studying in Finland will continue with their studies. Those who have already paid and processed their visas will also continue with learning, but we will not have fresh recruits until we have sorted out this issue,” said the governor, who was accompanied by his deputy, Mr John Barorot. 

He spoke as the three MPs demanded that officials of the county government who were found to have looted funds in the programme be brought to book. 

The scholarship programme was implemented under former Governor Jackson Mandago. 

The county government, under the administration of Mr Mandago, had acted as guarantors to enable the students to pursue studies and work in Finland, but parents were expected to pay fees for their children.

New account

Mr Bii disclosed that the county had opened another fee payment account to facilitate the smooth learning of the students in the three universities in Finland.

“We have opened an alternative account so that parents can continue paying for their children’s studies. We now have two parents who are signatories. Previously, no parent was a signatory of the account under trustees, which is now under investigation,” he said.

“We want to assure our parents that we are concerned about this issue and we will look into it until the truth is established,” the governor said.

“We want to encourage parents and guardians to continue paying fees for their children using the new account so that they can continue with their studies,” he said. 

The MPs said the programme must continue, noting it has benefited many students in the county. 

“We want to appeal to parents to be calm as EACC sleuths investigate this matter. We want those who will be found culpable to be arrested,” said Ms Sitienei. “We don’t want this programme to be discontinued because many students from this county stand to benefit,” she said.

County assembly probe

An ad-hoc committee of the county assembly formed in February to investigate the scam recommended investigations into the management of the overseas education account for forgery, abuse of office, and integrity.

Those recommended for investigation included Mr Joseph Maritim, the immediate former chief officer in the department of Youth and Sports and principal trustee, Mr Joel Ruto, director, Uasin Gishu County Education Revolving Fund and Trustee, Mr Meshack Rono, deputy director, Uasin Gishu County Revolving Fund and trustee, among others.

“The EACC team is already investigating the account at the Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) and it will table its report and recommendation within 30 days,” Mr Bii said last week while urging parents to pay fees to facilitate the smooth learning of their children in the foreign universities. 

On Monday, the governor said no public funds had been lost since it was not a scholarship programme, and parents paid for the studies of their children. 

Mr Sudi alleged a smear campaign aimed at destabilising the programme. 

“We want to caution all parents against dealing with individual agents or brokers. We want to ask them to engage the county government. County officials can be held accountable in case of loss of monies,” said Mr Sudi. “We know parents sacrificed a lot to have their children study abroad and we want those involved to be arrested and to refund the monies.”

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