Student loans problem needs urgent solution

Helb chief executive Charles Ringera. FILE PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NMG

Reports that 140,000 government-sponsored students in universities and middle-level colleges risk missing out or facing delays on their Higher Education Loans Board (Helb) funding are disturbing.

The country’s continued economic growth is heavily dependent on the education system bringing through a steady stream of qualified and skilled personnel to provide labour that powers industries and emerging sectors.

As it is, the funding challenges especially in university education will see the country face a shortage of skilled labour a few years down the road if left unresolved.

The underfunding of Helb is one of them, as is the under-capitation of universities that has left a number of them fighting for survival and having to cut courses on their books.

It is therefore important that the government prioritises funding of education over other less urgent expenditures given the key role that these institutions play in giving the country a competitive advantage in the regional labour market.

We have seen the government previously diverting cash from less urgent expenditures to cover emergency needs.

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