I want to register my disappointment in the new higher education funding system.
As a post-primary trainer, I feel bad when adults assume children are well as long as their parents are there.
Some parents pretend to maintain class, some are abusive and some have nothing to give to their children.
I am an example of a child brought up by both parents who couldn’t raise a cup of tea in the morning or a plate of rice at noon for my survival.
My mother used to work for a neighbor who could pay her Ksh. 30. We were 11 members of the family.
This could barely cater for our supper. My Father used to work for Kenya Railways as a casual laborer.
When school fees were based on a parent, we schooled well. But immediately it was changed to fees per student, it became a problem.
He developed pressure and eventually went for early retirement. We had no option but to drop out of school.
I became a houseboy and thanks to my boss who took me to school until I cleared primary. I scored good marks and joined a national school in which I only went for 2 weeks. I had no shopping including the basics.
To make matters worse, the teachers in the school would insist people from where I came from are rich because it’s known for large-scale Maize production.
This fallacy must stop. Being from a rich family doesn’t mean you are rich.
This is the reason I feel the government is wrong. Joining university, my young sister was funded Ksh. 60,000 by the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB). My younger brother got Ksh. 42,000 while I got Ksh. 35,000 per year.
If the government is good at determining how financially able people are, why were we not funded the same amount since we came from the same background?
Finally, my two siblings I mentioned and most of my students whom I have taught more in particular from low-performing schools, I always used to encourage them to get university points because they would automatically receive government sponsorship.
This has been a gift for good performers. What will I tell them now?
Will I have words of hope for my financially poor students? The government should stop living in Nairobi and focus on the larger population at the grass roots.
This is an issue of reality versus appearance.
By Shadrack Shitseswa
Shitseswa is a trainer based in Nairobi
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