Parents demand transparency in overseas study programme

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Parents ,studenst and Uasin Gishu leaders during a meeting in Eldoret on August 7,2023 over finland and Canada education scandal. [Christopher Kipsang, Standard]

Emotions ran high as parents, whose children are studying in Finland and Canada under the Uasin Gishu County overseas study programme, met the county leadership.

The meeting, which is the first since the scandal emerged, saw the parents lecture Governor Jonathan Bii, his deputy John Barorot and Senator Jackson Mandago over alleged mismanagement of the programme.

While the leaders pleaded with the parents to clear the arrears, the parents blamed the county leadership for what they termed as poor communication and lack of transparency in the programme.

The parents said that on several occasions, they asked the county officials to give them fee structures and Memorandum of Understanding that the county government entered into with the Finnish universities, but their appeals were snubbed.

“Whenever we raised questions about the programme, we were branded activists. We wonder how we could be activists when our monies were in question, and we were concerned about our children’s welfare,” said William Koech, one of the parents.

Zero communication

Koech said that after a year of zero communication, the parents joined forces and petitioned the county assembly to conduct investigations.

On several occasions when the parents had meetings with the officials, they ended in disarray because the officials were unable to give the parents the required information.

“When our children were facing deportation if their fees were not paid by February 28, this year, we opted to involve Max Global, an agent of the university to help us talk to the university and allow us to open a different account for fee payments,” the parent stated.

In March, Tampere University, which has more than 111 students from Uasin Gishu ended its cooperation with the county.

The parents said the new agent embraced transparency.

Another parent, Sarah Koech, claimed that parents did not have arrears as alleged.

Mandago said the parents would be allowed to access the invoices to ascertain payments of school fees that they have been making to the Trust account.

Barorot stated that parents were not being overcharged, adding that more money was required for visa application, accommodation fees, flight and even Covid-19 tests, among other requirements.

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