Finland programme to go on despite scandal, says Barorot

Education project initiated by former governor’s administration

In Summary
  • Angry parents and students demand a refund of Sh300 million
  • Deputy Governor says the programme will continue but families must pay tuition a year in advance.
Some of the students affected by the Finland education scam during protests in Eldoret on August 2, 2023
Some of the students affected by the Finland education scam during protests in Eldoret on August 2, 2023

Uasin Gishu will maintain the controversial Finland education and jobs programme, in spite of scandals, Deputy Governor John Barorot has said.

He said the problems that have disrupted the programme will not derail it.

Barorot said they will not run away from the initiative or abandon students still willing to take up study opportunities in Finland or other countries.

“These are our children and despite the challenges we have faced, we will not run away from them. We will still keep our eye on the ball so we help our children to go out there to study,” Barorot said.

He announced another batch of 46 students had already been issued with visas to travel out to Finland starting today (Monday).

“We have 22 students who will travel on Monday and another 24 who will be travelling next week,” Barorot said in Moiben.

He said they are now working with the national government to resolve issues that had affected the programme leading to street protests in Eldoret.

Parents and students are demanding a refund of more than Sh300 million.

The affected students had paid fees through the county but missed out on the programme initiated by former Governor Jackson Mandago who is now senator for Uasin Gishu.

Mandago and three other people have been charged with fraud. They deny wrongdoing.

Mandago was released on Sh500,000 bail after he denied conspiracy to defraud the Uasin Gishu County Education Trust Fund of Sh1.1 billion when he was governor. He was charged alongside former county officials Meshack Rono and Joshua Lelei.

The three denied the charges. The case will be mentioned for pretrial hearing on October 2.

Barorot said even as the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and the DCI were still handling the matter, the county and the government were doing everything possible to help all affected students and others willing to travel.

“Under the leadership of Governor Jonathan Bii, we are keeping our eye on the ball and even though the rules at the embassy have changed, we will still help those willing to travel,” Barorot said.

He said another five students had received visas to travel to Canada while more than 100 others were waiting in the queue.

“I assure parents we will not run away from this programme because we know it’s noble and will benefit the children and all of us,” Barorot said.

He said the county was keen on supporting all education programmes that were beneficial to students.

The county acts as a guarantor for the students in the overseas education programme but the parents have to pay fees at their colleges.

Barorot said the embassies had changed rules for issuing visas and it was now mandatory that students must pay fees for one year in advance before being allowed to travel.

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