In recent weeks, we have read in the media about the unfortunate situation of Laurea’s Kenyan commissioned education students. Payments from Uashin Gishu County in Kenya for commissioned education of Kenyan students are still late beyond the agreed date of the contract between the County and Laurea University of Applied Sciences. If the county fails to make its payment by the end of this month, the Kenyans will lose their right to study, which could lead to the termination of their right of residence.
Briefly on the situation of Kenyan students
Uashin Gishu County in Kenya and Laurea University of Applied Sciences have signed a contract for commissioned education to enable Kenyan nursing and physiotherapy students to study in Finland. The Uashin Gishu County’s payments to fund the education of Kenyan students for the next semester are overdue. However, the board of Laurea University of Applied Sciences has given the county a one-month extension – until the end of March – to make the payments.
Contrary to earlier assurances by the commissioner, it has emerged that the students have paid for their own studies. Initially, Uashin Gishu County denied the allegations, but has now admitted that it collected the fees from the students or their parents. (YLE 23.2.2023)
The Act on Universities of Applied Sciences (§ 13) stipulates that the commissioning and paying party of the commissioned education must be “…the Finnish state, another state, an international organisation or a Finnish or foreign public body, foundation or private entity. — The University of Applied Sciences shall charge the client for the provision of commissioned education a fee covering the costs of the commissioned education at least. The education provider is entitled to charge the students participating in the contracted education in accordance with the legislation or practice of the country in which the education provider is located.”
If Uashin Gishu County fails to pay the tuition fees of Kenyan students by the end of March or Laurea University of Applied Sciences is forced to terminate its commissioned education project under the Universities of Applied Sciences Act, Kenyans will lose their right to study, which could lead to the termination of their right of residence.
The end of the studies of Kenyan students would be a loss for everyone. These students could have been part of the solution to the skills shortage in the social and health sector and Finland’s ageing demographic. Moreover, the situation is unfair from the point of view of the individual student.
Unfortunately, as a student union, we cannot do anything about the situation other than instruct our student actives to help Kenyans find the right services. However, we hope that in future contract negotiations and during the contract drafting phase, the university will pay attention to ways to better safeguard the rights of students.