Almost all Kenyans studying at Laurea to continue studies in Finland
Over 90 students, will be able to continue their studies in Finland, either at Laurea or at another institution. Laurea is terminating the study entitlement of two Kenyan students for non-payment of education fees.
In accordance with the decision of Laurea Board of Directors on 4 May 2023, Laurea is terminating the study entitlement of two Kenyan students for non-payment of education fees. Only one of the students has been actively takin part in the studies. According to the commissioning party the other has resigned from the education and returned to Kenya. The others, over 90 students, will be able to continue their studies in Finland, either at Laurea or at another institution. Payment arrangements have been set up to support the continuation of studies. Students wishing to pursue education in other institutions have been supported in finding a place in secondary education.
- I deeply regret that the confusion surrounding education fees has caused severe problems and concern for students and their families. It is very unfortunate that not every student is able to continue their studies at Laurea. We have made every effort to find alternative places for those students who have requested them. We have also arranged for flexibility in payment schedules, but the law prevents us, for example, from forgiving payments, says Teemu Ylikoski, Development Director at Laurea.
95 Kenyan students have taken degree studies at Laurea in Finland last spring. Of the students, 60 are willing and able to continue their studies at Laurea under the payment arrangement, and they have assessed that they will be able to continue. Of the students in Finland, 31 are moving on to apprenticeships in secondary education at Omnia, Eduko and Keuda. Apprenticeships are free of charge for the student and the employer pays the student a salary for the duration of the studies. Secondary apprenticeships are not commissioned education and are not covered by the same legislation.
In 2022, five groups of students started at Laurea UAS in a commissioned education programme commissioned by the Uasin Gishu County of Kenya. The students have studied at Laurea's campuses in Espoo, Lohja, Porvoo and Vantaa, and through distance learning in Kenya. Payment problems in the spring of 2023 have troubled the continuation of studies, and the situation and causes of the problems have been investigated since then. It is Laurea's understanding that the origin of the fees has deviated from the agreement throughout the project. The contract was made with the Uasin Gishu County and the education and student accommodation was to be fully financed by the County. However, it has subsequently emerged that the students and their families have been paying for the education from the outset.
In the autumn, a group of 24 Kenyan nursing students who have been studying in distance learning in Kenya will also arrive in Finland. The group is part of the same contract and started their studies at the same time as the groups already studying in Finland. Laurea has ensured that the students are aware of the payment difficulties of the previous groups and has also provided them with particularly comprehensive information on the cost of living in Finland.
According to the Universities of Applied Sciences Act, a higher education institution must charge the commissioning party at least the full cost of the training. Finnish legislation treats students from outside the EU and EEA differently from students from within the EU and EEA. A full payment must be charged, and the payer must be a company, association or public body. The higher education institution cannot charge the student directly for commissioned education.
- We want to ensure that similar problems do not occur again with commissioned education and have therefore made improvements to our processes. In future, the contract will be made directly between Laurea and the commissioning party. The commissioning party is required to use a contract agreed with Laurea as the contract between the commissioning party and the student. We have ended negotiations for new commissioned education with other counties in Kenya. An external study has been commissioned on the project, Ylikoski says.
Commissioned education will continue at Laurea despite the adversity. It is a central part of the university's social mission and part of the agreement with Laurea and the Ministry of Education and Culture.