Murang’a Governor Mwangi Wa Iria wants the government to introduce a free feeding programme in public universities and other institutions of higher learning.
The governor, who was addressing a delegation from Murang’a University during the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on health between the institution and the county government, said the policy would encourage learners to concentrate on their studies.
He wondered why the policy has not been introduced in universities while the government has been feeding prisoners, police and armed forces recruits.
He said it is unfair that university students are struggling to get food while government is feeding convicts and police recruits.
He promised to fight to have a feeding programme for university students included in the Building Bridges Initiative.
He said he had done background research and realised that most students could not afford two meals a day and this affected their performance.
“If a policy is introduced to feed students, I'm sure they will post better grades,” he said.
Last year, his newly-formed party -- Civic Renewal Party (CRP) -- called on the Ministry of Education to write off all loans by Higher Education Loans Board (Helb) for unemployed graduates.
The party said the difficult economic situation among the youth should compel the Ministry of Education to cancel the debts just like the national government did to coffee farmers. CRP official James Mwangi also wants Helb not to charge interest on loans to students.
“We appeal to [Education] CS George Magoha to cancel all loans for unemployed graduates and place a cap on student loan interest rates going forward,” Mr Wa Iria said.
He said the party had written to education officials seeking a waiver on the loans.
During the meeting, an MoU was signed detailing how students pursuing Health and Science courses would be using hospitals in the county during their coursework. The governor said that through the programme, his administration would improve provision of healthcare services.
He said the MoU would increase the workforce in hospitals.
Mr Wa Iria announced plans to convert Mariira Farmers' Training Institute into a constituent college of Murang’a University.
The university Vice-Chancellor, Dickson Nyariki, said the programme would help the university achieve its goals.
“The MoU will help our students acquire excellent skills during their attachment,” he said.