Uasin Gishu County sends 24 students to Finland amid airlift scandal

Uasin Gishu County Deputy Governor John Barorot. [Standard,File]

Uasin Gishu County Deputy Governor John Barorot has announced that 24 students will travel to Finland on Tuesday as part of the county’s controversial education program.

He also said that 98 other students are waiting for visas to go to Canada.

The announcement comes as hundreds of parents and students affected by the scandal demand a refund of the millions of shillings they paid for the program, saying that they no longer trust the county government to educate their children abroad.

The program, which was initiated by Governor Jonathan Bii, has been marred by delays, miscommunication and allegations of fraud. Last month, Bii urged parents not to withdraw their children from the program, promising to resolve the challenges that have plagued it.

However, many parents have lost faith in the program and want their money back. They have staged protests and accused the county government and the agents who facilitated the program of scamming them.

Edward Kiptek, one of the affected parents, said that President Ruto had ordered the county government and the agents to refund the parents, but they have ignored his directive.

“The 22 students who left for Finland on Monday had obtained visas months ago before the program ran into headwinds. A majority of parents are no longer interested in the program and we will be on the streets to demand refunds,” said Kiptek.

Another parent, David Saina, said that they will not stop protesting until they get their money back.

“The president asked them to refund our money. They have defied him. They have remained silent on our plight. We are promising them that we are back to the streets, and they should be prepared to refund us,” he said.

Barorot, who is also the chairman of the panel created by Bii to look into the program, defended the county government’s efforts to send the students abroad.

He said that the students who are going to Finland have complied with all the requirements and asked for prayers for those who are waiting for visas to Canada.

“I know we have had a big conversation talking about our children to study abroad. We are still trying to help our children to go to school. On Tuesday we have 24 children from Uasin Gishu who will proceed to Finland. The children have complied with all the requirements Finland wanted,” Barorot said.

“We also have 98 children and we are urging you to keep them in prayers because everything is ready we are only awaiting their travel visas to Canada,” he added.

The program was meant to offer an opportunity for students from Uasin Gishu County to pursue higher education in Finland and Canada, which are known for their quality education systems. However, it has turned into a nightmare for many parents and students who feel betrayed by the county government and its partners.