By Joyce Namutebi
The Ministry of Education is ready to implement the students’ loan scheme, state minister for higher education, John C. Muyingo has said.
He said that the ministry has earmarked sh4b to give to students under the loan scheme. This is out of the sh5b that was allocated to the ministry. Sh1b will go into funding operations of the scheme, he said.
“We are set. We did our part. We are waiting for the President to assent to the law,” Muyingo said.
In December last year, Parliament passed the Higher Education Students Financing Bill, 2013. The Bill’s object is to establish a scheme to finance students to pursue higher education in Uganda, establish the Higher education students Financing Board as well as a fund to finance the scheme.
The loan scheme is intended to provide financing to Ugandan students who have qualified for higher education in recognized institutions of higher learning but are unable to support themselves.
Only Ugandans who have been admitted for accredited courses in institutions recognized by the National Council for Higher Education are eligible to benefit from the loans.
Muyingo said they planned to implement the scheme this financial because they have the money, but nothing can be done unit the President has signed the law. “His Excellence is anxiously waiting to receive it and sign,” the minister assured.
He assured that as soon as it is assented to a board that would manage the scheme would be constituted. “Immediately the board is in place, work will start.” “We are looking at 1,000 students with each getting about an average of Sh4m for a year,” he said.
Muyingo said students who wish to benefit from the loan scheme cannot apply now saying besides the board there also has to be a secretariat to do certain undertakings. “Students can only apply after the board is in place.”
On who is to benefit from the scheme the minister said, “For us we had come up with science based courses. The board will determine the programmes that will be financed.”
The Bill provides for repayment of the loan, one year after completion of higher education for which it was given. The loan attracts interest whether or not the person is employed.
Students’ loan scheme awaits Museveni’s signature