My attention has been drawn to media reports regarding the state of education for our students pursuing their studies at various universities in Finland. The innovative idea was conceptualized to address youth unemployment, and the programs were tailor-made for the requirements in Finland. The program was run independently of county government by a trust. This therefore means that no public funds were or will be appropriated/allocated to fund this program.
The overseas program was created to enable parents who did not have the ability to obtain bank statements or even bank accounts to support the visa application process. As part of the requirement for visa applications, six months’ accommodation in Finland, first semester fees, and pathway studies must be paid for and proof of payment attached during visa applications.
Ongoing Finland student numbers from Uasin Gishu County include the following:
The first group is composed of students in Finland who left Kenya between September 2021 and September 2022.
Tampere University, 111
Jvaskyla (25);
Laurea, 66
Total in Finland: 202
Second group:
Students who are in Kenya and have studied one semester online and obtained visas to study at Laurea University (56); this group must pay second semester fees by March 31st before they can travel to Finland.
Third group:
Students in Kenya who have obtained visas and have completed the pathway to study engineering at LUT University (48) are ready to travel, and their first-year fees have been paid.
Fourth group: Students in Kenya whose fees have been paid by their parents to the universities and whose visa applications have been launched (78)
Total: 384
For all the 384 students, pathway fees, first semester fees, accommodation, visa fees, insurance fees (travel and medical), and air tickets (except for the 78 awaiting visa approval) were paid for all the students, both in Finland and in Kenya, who were ready to travel.
What we have done as the new administration:
1. We formed a taskforce in December 2022 to bring together universities, parents, and other stakeholders and make recommendations on the way forward.
The taskforce has been engaging stakeholders—universities, trustees, parents, banks, and students—to ensure that everyone is clear on their roles and responsibilities.
2. We have negotiated with universities for an extension of the fee due dates.
3. We have also discussed and reminded the parents that payment of fees is their responsibility.
4. Held discussions with KCB on the opening of bank subaccounts on the main trust account for each cohort with parents as signatories.
5. We have held a series of meetings with universities, both physical and online, where we have informed them that the county offered guarantee but the parents were responsible for payment of fees.
6. The taskforce has already engaged auditors to carry out a forensic audit on the trust fund accounts.
Current Status;
The fees for the second semester are due on March 31st, 2023, while the due date for Tampere University has lapsed.
EACC is currently carrying out investigations for the program.
We have letters from all the universities on the deadline for payment of fees as follows:
Jvaskyla – 31st March
Laurea – 31st March
Tampere—Did not agree to extend the February 28 deadline. They have ended the cooperation with Uasin Gishu County but have indicated that they were willing to continue with the program if the parents met their obligations.
Way Forward
1. The parents have an obligation to pay fees by March 31st, 2023.
2. We have engaged with financial institutions, and some are willing to offer a soft loan to parents who are willing to pay fees for their children.
3. We have received the ad-hoc report from the County Assembly, which will be committed to the Cabinet for discussion and recommendation on the way forward.

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