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Helb frustrating graduates with hefty fines

By Nicholas sewe | September 8th 2016

My colleague at work initiated a debate on the Higher Education Loans Board's loans repayment terms and consequences of defaulting.

He, just like many others, was a beneficiary of the money upon successful application.

However, he has not started repaying the loan and strongly feels the board is frustrating unemployed youth with 'hefty' fines in case the repayment terms aren't followed to the letter.

Helb slaps former university students who do not start repaying the loans one year after course completion with a monthly fine of Sh5,000.

Unemployment is an enormous crisis in Kenya with millions of university graduates stranded with their degrees and diploma certificates scouting for jobs.

My friend argued that the Government was doing very little to aid the youth secure jobs immediately after graduating. Many a times, one secures a job because they have 'god fathers' in those companies. Things have shifted from 'are you qualified for the job to 'do you know anybody?'

Since securing a job after graduating has become a tall order, with some youths opting to use placards in public places to seek  employment, why is Helb frustrating graduates with the heavy fines?

In a nutshell, the board should do away with the fines, and set up a system to track those who have landed jobs and deduct reasonable amount of money from their salaries to repay the loans.

The requirement of Sh1,000 by Helb in order to be awarded a clearance certificate, regardless of whether you never benefited from the fund is ridiculous to say the least. Methinks the Government and the board are frustrating university graduates.

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