Reveal number of students working in Middle East, state urged 

Diana Chepkemoi returns

Diana Chepkemoi (centre) at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on September 6,2022 after returning from Riyadh in Saudi Arabia where she had been stuck following allegations of having been abused by her employer and denied medication.

Photo credit: Evans Habil I Nation Media Group

Meru University of Science and Technology (MUST) students want the Education ministry to establish the number of students who have left Kenya and are working in the Middle East.

The call came after the news that Ms Diana Chepkemoi, who was working in Saudi Arabia, was holed up in the kingdom for three months and was tortured by her employers. Diana returned to the country on Tuesday.

Ms Chepkemoi, who hails from Bomet County, went to the Gulf state last year to work and raise money for her studies at MUST, where she was pursuing a bachelor’s degree in food science management and technology.

Addressing journalists at the campus in Meru, Mr Hanington Oguk, the president of the MUST students’ association, said an investigation is needed to establish how many students are working outside Kenya and where.

“Diana represents just one of the many students who find themselves in such situations and they have to work hard to pay for their education and upkeep. We want the government to establish how many are out there,” said Mr Oguk.

“Leaders should commit to helping her resume studies by paying fees and accommodation.”

Ms Pauline Atieno, another student leader studying civil engineering, said students need to be assured of safety abroad.

“Whatever Diana has gone through should not happen to anybody else in our universities. We also call upon the government to increase allocation of funds to the Helb so that they can study,” she said.

Ms Chepkemoi is welcome back at the university and would be placed under the work-study programme, said Prof Ramanus Odhiambo, the university’s vice-chancellor.

“This programme is designed to empower the needy students and she will enjoy a flexible schedule to study and work within the library and will be granted accommodation,” Mr Odhiambo said in a statement, adding that the university had informed the family about the plans.