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Payment difficulties bothering Kenyan students studying in Finland

The continuation of the study entitlement of 139 Kenyan nursing and physiotherapy students studying at Laurea University of Applied Sciences is at stake.

Laurea's campus in Tikkurila.

The continuation of the study entitlement of 139 Kenyan nursing and physiotherapy students studying at Laurea University of Applied Sciences is at stake. This is because the payments from the education commissioner Kenyan Uasin Gishu province are late from the schedule specified in the contract. Laurea is currently negotiating the situation with representatives of Uasin Gishu Province and representatives of education export company EduExcellence and agent company Skill Dove. 

Under the Polytechnics Act, the university of applied sciences must charge a fee from the party who commissions the education that covers at least the costs incurred by it. In accordance with the decision of the Board of Laurea University of Applied Sciences on 8 February 2023, if the groups' contributions for the second semester have not been paid by 28 February 2023, Laurea will have to decide on the study entitlement of the students in these groups and discontinue the programmes. At the same time, it would also mean the end of the students' right of residence in the country, in which case the matter would be transferred to the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri). The students concerned have been informed of the situation as soon as it became clear that it was not an error or disturbance. 

Jouni Koski, President & CEO of Laurea University of Applied Sciences, regrets the situation caused to students.  

- Until now, payments have been made as agreed. Laurea has had no reason to suspect a breach of contract before this situation. The Kenyan students have been satisfied with their studies, and the feedback has been good. In addition, our teachers say that the studies have gone well. This is unreasonable for the students, says Koski. 

Unpaid fees also provide additional concern for the continuity of student accommodation. Forenom oversees the accommodation needs and they have negotiated the contract with the client's agent company. Laurea has not played a role in the student housing arrangements. 

– We understand the implications for the students of the threat of discontinuing the education and we will therefore do our utmost to find a solution. Negotiations with the client continue, Koski says. 

Laurea has received enquiries on whether an individual student could pay Laurea for the continuation of their studies. Under the Act, commissioned education can only be sold to groups, and the client must be, for example, another state or an international organisation. Therefore, an individual student cannot be a payer. 

– The challenges of the education exports of Kenya's commissioned education have attracted publicity. From the beginning, Laurea has tried to do something different. The fact that we are in this situation indicates that we have failed. I am extremely sorry about that, says Koski. 

Despite the unpaid fees, the situation would not, at worst, burden Laurea's normal teaching or other activities, as the payment schedule has been frontloaded and the work done so far has been paid for. 

67 Kenyan students are currently studying at Laurea in nursing education on the Vantaa, Lohja and Porvoo campuses, and there are 32 nursing students and 40 physiotherapy students in distance learning in Kenya. In addition, 96 students have completed bridge studies in Kenya, which include Finnish-language studies before starting their actual studies in Finland. 

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