The Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) has said it may suspend payment of internship fees for undergraduate students doing practical courses like engineering and medicine owing to lack of funds.
The Higher Education Loans Board (Helb) has been advancing additional loans to cater for needs of such students including accommodation for the period of the internship.
The boardâ€™s chief executive, Mr Charles Ringera yesterday told the Nation that besides inadequate funds, students taking others courses like arts and education had been demanding an inclusion into the programme.
In the meantime, he said, the education ministry has slashed the amount for each student from Sh12, 000 to 6,000.
â€œThe ministry has been paying Sh12, 000 per students (on top of the usual loans) for internships practicum, only for practical courses in specific universities like Moi, Nairobi, Kenyatta, Jomo Kenyatta,â€ said Mr Ringera.
â€œOther students including those taking education are demanding to be given the amount saying they equally do practicals. The money is not enough and we have difficulty in identifying rightful beneficiaries,â€ he added.
Mr Ringera said that they would change the system so that first year students joining practical courses get the Sh6, 000 amount with their loans.
A post on the Helb Facebook page reads: â€œThe board is gradually suspending issuing attachment loans. We will let you know upon resumption. Our sincere apologies for any inconveniences caused.â€
This spells doom for poor students who do not have alternative source of funds and relied solely on Helb loans.
But Mr Ringera said and that the decision was arrived at after consultations with the Education ministry and in view of rising number of students against the limited resources.
He added that the demand by students that Helb caters for the internship fees for all undergraduate programmes was not practical as the board was unable to meet the current loan demands by university entrants.
He said out of the Sh7.5 billion budget allocation for 2015/16, a total of Sh2.5 billion was as a result of loan recoveries by the board.
â€œIt means we only received Sh4.9 billion out of the Sh9 billion we had anticipated,â€ Mr Ringera said.