Science, technology students to get more funding, CS pledges

Science and technology students will start receiving more funding from Higher Education Loans Board (Helb) compared to their Arts and Social Sciences counterparts, the Ministry of Education has announced.

The move will benefit students both in the universities and Technical Vocational Educational and Training (TVET) colleges in a bid to improve and develop the skills’ level of young people in the country, the ministry said.

While launching nearly 3,000 TVET scholarships in partnership with Equity Group and the German government yesterday, the ministry stated that science-based courses are critical for the development of the country as a shortage of craftsmanship has been identified.

Import labour force Speaking yesterday during the launch at Kasarani Stadium, Education Cabinet secretary Dr Fred Matiang’i said that failure to support the science and technology courses will be counterproductive and detrimental to the country, because Kenya mostly imports labour force to work on development projects.

“I am telling my colleagues at the Higher Education Loans Board that we are done for this year but for the coming financial year when we prepare for funds, I will request the Cabinet that I get a deliberate bias towards science and technology-based training allocations that we can move this country forward and to the next level,” said Matiang’i.

Referring to the current higher education sector as an “amazing situation where there are jobs that can be offered to people who do not exist while on the other hand there are many people with degrees for jobs that don’t exist”, the CS gave the example of the Standard Gauge Railway which has non-Kenyan welders.

He further said that despite the science and technology courses offered in universities, Kenya has a shortage of artisans not even enough for its own market thus cannot even export craftsmanship to other developed countries who sometimes seek assistance from their partner countries.

“We will not move forward or develop when more than 80 per cent of the students we register in universities are in the arts and liberal humanities. Science is very important and crucial to us achieving the goals set for Vision 2030. It is time that parents even advised children wisely on their choices of career,” said Matiang’i.

He said there is need to change the mindset of the youth that Technical Vocational Educational and Training (TVET) colleges do not offer quality education compared to recognised universities. Instead, he challenged faith-based organisations to seek letters of interim authority to start science and technology colleges to cater for the development need of the country.

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