NOW HELB PLANS TO FINANCE STUDENTS WITH GAMBLING MONEY


Illustration: Joe Ngari, Daily Nation

Illustration: Joe Ngari, Daily Nation

My old man, Grandpa Richard, has always questioned the viability of student loans disbursed by the government.

While he is all up for helping my comrades pay for their tuition, he is concerned that a huge chunk of that money usually ends up in their pockets instead.

“This facilitates them with free taxpayers’ cash to enable them attend asinine Project X jamborees, buy flavoured condoms and wager their future on online sports betting. Such money is better off utilised in paying pensions for respectable seniors like me who have earned an honest wage while serving the country for decades,” he laments.

“If your comrades want to earn extra money,” Grandpa Richard continues, “let them take up part-time jobs and save whatever little they earn in bank accounts with compounded interest.

University students in this country are molly-coddled by being given everything on a silver platter by the state, and that’s why they never work for anything.

Giving ‘free’ cash to profligate students is pouring money into a bottomless pit, as they lack the discipline to pay back. They only understand economics half way – the demand part.”

And true to my old man’s words, the Higher Education Loans Board recently reported that their bad debts had hit a record 11 billion shillings. How does the body plan to recoup the money from a student population whose sole purpose in life is to pay salaries

for the employees of that brewery factory down in Ruaraka?

Early this week, HELB chief executive Mr Charles Ringera revealed that it is mulling holding lotteries to raise enough money for its operations.

The move, a local daily alluded, has been informed by the success of sports betting in Kenya, which has experienced phenomenal growth in the past few years.

Phenomenal growth my foot! Just the other day a city university held its first annual betting sensitisation week, a few sessions of which I was privileged to attend.

I almost shed a tear as I listened to stories of comrades who had lost all their assets to sports betting. Being the proverbial fools who are soon parted with their money, they often resort to pawning their assets in an effort to satisfy their insatiable addiction to betting.

The main problem, they complained, is that betting websites in the country are very understanding in that they accept every kind of payment, including school fees.

Driven by voracious greed and the allure of doubling their money, comrades would stake everything upon an Arsenal versus Chelsea match.

Grandpa is convinced that the culture of wagering ones future on pipe dreams and easy money is opprobrious and should be shunned. The Higher Education Loans Board should be steering my comrades away from this destructive vice and instead provide them with more legitimate options to raise their tuition and pocket money. Lottery tickets and online sports betting only serve to trick my comrades into believing that they can actually become overnight millionaires without hard work or any real investments.

jowaljones

Jowal Jones is a columnist and correspondent with Kenya's leading newspaper, Daily Nation. He also dabbles in fiction works at times, hoping to be the next Stephen King. Sometimes he takes time out from writing to perfect his deer-dancing and goat-screaming skills.