The government, through the Higher Education Loans Board, plans to supply laptops to all first-year students.

HELB has already reached out to the Treasury for Sh2.5 billion funding to provide a laptop for the 60,000 government-sponsored first-year students. 

According to the board, the laptops will enable distance learning since the onset of Covid-19 has made it impossible for in-person learning. 

HELB argues that laptops are necessary for the student, but a majority cannot afford them. 

HELB CEO Charles Ringera first introduced the idea to facilitate online learning instead of in-person classroom learning in which the virus can be spread.

If approved by the Treasury, the students will be able to apply for loans to buy laptops from next year.

Notably, several universities have resumed teaching and learning online.

"This blended learning is the way to go into the future. The loans mean students can stop using small devices like mobile phones and at least use laptops. Laptops can also help them do online work for income," said Ringera.

Postgraduate students and diploma students are not currently eligible for the program. 

The laptop loan request comes as public universities are pushing to increase fees from Sh16,000 to Sh48,000.

Over recent years, the student loan burden has been growing in the country, with calls on the government to salvage the situation.

The loan burden is complicated because most university students take years to land a job after completing their education.