County news – A group of parents from Uasin Gishu County have staged more demonstrations over the botched Finland education programme that was supposed to take their children to study abroad. They demanded a refund of millions of shillings from the county government, which they paid towards the programme. They also accused the county leaders of being silent on the matter and failing to address their grievances.
The programme, which was initiated in 2014 by former governor Jackson Mandago, was meant to airlift students from the county to live, study and work in Finland. The county government partnered with Tampere University, Finland, and promised to facilitate the students with visas, bank statements and scholarships.
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However, the programme turned out to be a scam as the students never travelled to Finland despite paying hefty fees ranging from Sh300,000 to Sh500,000. Some of the students who managed to travel to Finland on their own found out that they had been enrolled in courses that they had not applied for or that did not exist. Others were stranded in Finland without accommodation, food or money.
The parents said that they had been duped by the county government and its agents who posed as representatives of the Finnish university. They said that they had sold their properties and taken loans to pay for the programme, hoping that their children would get quality education and better opportunities abroad.
They also said that they had been ignored by the county government and its officials whenever they sought answers or solutions. They said that they had written letters, made phone calls and visited the county offices, but no one was willing to help them or take responsibility for the mess.
The parents vowed to continue with their protests until they get justice and their money back. They also threatened to sue the county government and its officials for fraud and breach of contract. They urged the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to intervene and investigate the matter.
The current governor Jonathan Bii and his predecessor Jackson Mandago have both denied any involvement or wrongdoing in the programme. They blamed each other for the scandal and shifted the blame to the Finnish university and its agents. They have also asked the parents to be patient and wait for the outcome of the investigations by the DCI and EACC.