Parents of students taking various degree and diploma programmes in Finland universities have resolved to sign a Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) with overseas universities through Max-Global Group Limited to allow their students continue with studies. This comes a week after the county government of Uasin Gishu suspended all new applications to overseas education programmes in Finland and Canada, calling for an audit into the programmes to address a controversy surrounding the programmes. The county government, which was initially the link between the students and the overseas universities, suspended all new applications but continued to handle the continuing students in various universities in Finland. Max-Global Group Limited General Manager Mr. Philip Koskei who addressed the press after witnessing the signing of contracts between the parents and Tampere University of Health Sciences and Tampere Adult Education Centre (TAKK) revealed that parents of the 110 students taking health courses requested the company to negotiate on their behalf the terms of agreement with the Tampere University of Health Sciences and Takk Vocational Training Centre after they experienced fees payment hitches through the County Government. ‘I am happy to work with county governments; I appreciate the county government of Uasin Gishu for taking up the challenge by forming a task force to handle matters of the overseas education programmes,’ he said. ‘Max-Global has worked with Elgeyo Marakwet county in taking students to Finland, we are looking forward to working with more counties; we have done consultations with the county government of Trans Nzoia, Narok and others to ensure our students study in Finland,’ he added. Ms Mary Too, a parent to one of the 25 students undertaking a degree course in nursing at the Tampere university of Health Sciences said the students left in September 2021 alongside 26 others taking practical nursing at Tampere Adult Education Centre (TAKK), but the issue of fees payment to Tampere University started in September 2022. ‘It has been a very long journey and a very challenging one. It was since September last year when we had issues about payment of money to Tampere University through Uasin Gishu County government. It got worse on February 28th 2023 when the university of Tampere cancelled the agreement between it and county government because they failed to fulfil the terms of agreement,’ said Too. ‘We were left in limbo, we were not sure what to do next because the University said the contract had ended, that we have not paid fees for the second year for all the students in Tampere University and TAKK. We negotiated further through Max-Global Group Limited and they said the university is considering what to do with us next,’ she added. On his part, Barnabas Tuwei, a parents’ representative for 26 students undertaking diploma in practical nursing at Tampere Adult Education Centre (TAKK) said they had opened an account through Max-Global Limited where parents would be paying fees directly to Tampere University of Health Sciences and Tampere Adult Education Centre (TAKK). On Thursday last week Uasin Gishu Governor Mr. Jonathan Chelilim responded to the county assembly’s ad hoc committee recommendation report on the alleged misconduct in the ongoing overseas education programmes in Finland. The county assembly ad hoc committee was formed in early February to discuss and investigate the alleged misconduct in the overseas education program after a public outcry that there was a suspected mishandling of the funds. The governor said that his Executive Committee had received and discussed the report and resolved that the county suspends all new students’ applications for both Finland and Canada education programmes and only handle the continuing students. The Executive Committee further called for the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to quickly carry out a forensic audit on the Uasin Gishu Trust account and finalize the same within 30 days noting that any official found culpable would face the full force of the law. Additionally, Uasin Gishu County Government employees involved in the management of the overseas trust account and the programme were asked to step aside pending completion of the forensic audit by the EACC. ‘In line with my manifesto to enhance skills and employability of our youth, I have expanded the terms of reference of the Finland task force headed by the Deputy Governor Engineer John Barorot to discuss and develop a policy framework that will govern overseas students’ programmes for Uasin Gishu county and will engage all stakeholders including county assembly committees handling matters of youth and education,’ said Chelilim.
Source: Kenya News Agency