Many qualifying students have missed the chance to join universities and other tertiary institutions on government bursaries
A week after ministry of education published the list of beneficiaries of the students’ loan scheme for the academic year 2018/19, lawmakers have questioned the criterion that was used to select the benefactors.
MPs across the political aisle on Tuesday raised concerns about the identity of beneficiaries with some indicating that the loan scheme could be benefiting the children of well-to-do Ugandans instead of the poor that it is meant to.
“I have received complaints from students in my district wondering how the 3000 beneficiaries were selected. This House ought to interest itself in the loan scheme to avoid it being abused,” Akampulira Prossy Begumisa (Rubanda) said.
Abbas Agaba Mugisha (Kitagwenda County) told the House that the criterion to determine who a beneficiary of the student loan scheme ought to be should be, “who would be most likely not to continue with high education if not selected among the beneficiaries.”
John Muyingo, the state minister for higher education promised to table the list of beneficiaries before parliament this afternoon with a breakdown of their regions of origin.
“I promise to act and if any person has evidence that a son or daughter of a rich person is on the list, I will strike him off,” Muyingo noted.
Believing in the abiding faith of the ability of higher education to open doors of opportunities and in the process haul millions from poverty, government rolled out the students’ loan scheme more than four years ago to help bright students from less advantaged background to access University and tertiary education.
Higher education in Uganda was originally free covering tuition and living allowance but the growth of student numbers has meant that the government can no longer afford to pay tuition and personal needs for all the students that qualify to join tertiary/ higher institutions.
It has overtime offered bursaries to highly qualifying students at higher institutions but with the growth in student numbers due to UPE and USE support from the Government, many qualifying students have missed the chance to join universities and other tertiary institutions on government bursaries.
The students’ loan disbursed to every beneficiary covers tuition, research and functional fees at accredited universities or tertiary institution.
The loan also attracts a small interest approved determined by the Board and approved by the minister of education.