Financing practices adopted by distance learners: the case of Bachelor of Education (Arts),
Rambo, Charles M.
Odundo, P A
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Distance Learning provides people in employment with the opportunity to acquire degrees through a flexible and cost-effective process. Although the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) finances higher education in Kenya, no provision has been created to finance distance learners. In view of this, over 70% of distance learners experience fee payment difficulties and another 34% drop out annually. In response to the situation, learners have adopted various financing practices, which remain unexplored and undocumented. Using a survey design, data were sourced from 446 active and 227 inactive learners, as well as 16 key informants. The study found that distance learners adopted two broad categories of financing practices, namely, personal means and institutional funding. While financing from personal means was generally inadequate and unsustainable, institutional funding was by large inaccessible, unaffordable and inadequate. This crystallized the need for a dependable financing program for distance learners. The study recommends the need to amend the HELB Act to allow for financing of distance learners; increase HELB’s budget, strengthen Constituency Development Fund (CDF) and micro-finance programs, and encourage employers to support vulnerable learners.