News and Analysis

Students loan schemes to be launched in April 2014

The Ministry of Education and Sportshas finally managed to come up with a regulatory framework to guide the operationalisation of the students loan scheme. This follows the passing of Higher Education students Financing Act. Needy students who are unable to pay for their higher education will now be able to achieve their dreams and pursue their careers.

The students loan scheme will enable students enroll in recognized higher education institutions in Uganda. The beneficiaries will have up to one year after accomplishing their studies to start repaying back the loan.

Government of Uganda through the Ministry of Education and Sports will under this scheme fund education to different programmes considered as critical to national development. The funding will be non-refundable as the beneficiaries will be expected to directly be recruited by the government until the loan is repaid in full. Strict regulations will be put on this category of students.

Finally those students who go through Universal Primary Education (UPE) and Universal Secondary Education (USE) and are unable to fund their higher education, will have a chance to complete their cycle of education. But the question remains: “how will the Ministry of Education and the Authority/ Board in charge of the scheme be able to differeciate the needy studetns from those whose parents are able to pay for themselves?”

Many noble governemnt projects have failed to add positive impact to the intended beneficiaries due to mismanagment, conflict of interest and corruption. Although this is one of the best schemes by government this year, the worry is how will it be implemented. Government must identify competent and ethical people to manage the scheme. Otherwise, I don’t see any difference between the scheme and the existing government sponsorship scheme, where qualifying students study at Makerere on government sponsorship.

Already, there is a lot of sponsorship schemes under State House, where scholarships are given out to several students annually. Many international institutions also offer free scholarships to Ugandans. The way beneficiaries are selected remains rocket science. Those who deserve and want is most, are usually left out.

We hope this noble project is professionally handled for the success of our economy.

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