The Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) has announced its plans to provide at least 60,000 laptops to new government-sponsored students taking online classes. The project has been submitted to the Treasury with hopes of providing KES 2.5 billion to fund it.
The project comes amid the COVID-19 pandemic that forced schools and universities across the country to close an adapt to online learning. However, one of the main challenges has been the fact that many students cannot afford computers to use at home thus missing classes.
HELB CEO Charles Ringera first introduced this idea in a bid to facilitate online learning instead of in-person classroom learning in which the virus can be spread. In the last couple of months, the online mode of learning has surely proven to be effective for students across the country.
If the Treasury approves the project, about 60,000 students will be lucky enough to get a laptop next year as part of the fee loan package.
“This blended learning is the way to go into the future,” Ringera said. “The loans mean students can stop using small devices like mobile phones and at least use laptops.”
The 60,000 students will be about half of the number of individuals joining the university as first years. Unfortunately, postgraduate and diploma students are not eligible for the loan.
The laptop loan comes amid the controversial plan by universities to increase fees from the current KES 16,000 to KES 48,000. However, Ringera says that increased fees will mean increased loans advanced to the students.
The increased fees will mean the board will require Sh14 billion to allow students to borrow for the increased fees, Ringera said.