He refuted claims that the scheme is mainly benefiting students from the big schools within Kampala and Wakiso
The minister for higher education John Chrysostom Muyingo has dismissed allegations that the Students Loan Scheme has been mismanaged and lost its original purpose of aiding financially constrained students to acquire university science education.
"I can confidently stand here and assure you that the Students Loan Scheme is doing very well and it is achieving its objectives," Muyingo told Parliament on Wednesday.
The minister elaborated that all Ugandans from all the regions of the country are able to apply and benefit from the loan scheme.
The minister noted that the first group of students who benefited from the scheme completed and over 90% of them got jobs.
The minister also refuted claims that the scheme is mainly benefiting students from the big schools within Kampala and Wakiso.
The minister was responding to concerns mostly raised by the Makindye Ssabagabo legislator Ssajjalyabeene Kigozi Ssempala who alleged that the scheme has been mismanaged and no longer benefiting the needy students as intended.
The minister stated that the ministry gets overwhelmed by the high demand for the loans from the students yet the money allocated to the scheme (about sh6b annually) is not adequate to meet all the demands.
Whereas Parliament passed a resolution for the State House scholarships to be phased out so that the money is channelled to the Students Loan Scheme, the resolution is yet to be implemented two years down the road. State House is allocated close to sh100b for presidential donations part of which is used on State House scholarships.
Kigozi informed Parliament that he had received information that out of over 2000 students who had benefited from the scheme, only 2 students had paid back the money.
"This means that majority have failed to get jobs. Some of them decide to go abroad to seek for greener pasture," Ssempala argued.
Ssempala stated that usually the performance of students is considered in giving them the loans which disadvantage students from rural areas who poorly perform in science subjects due to lack of science equipment in their schools.
The Kasilo County MP Elijah Okupa demanded that the minister goes back and prepares a statement for parliament with a list of the beneficiaries so that it can be well debated.
The minister (Muyingo) made a commitment that he would present a statement to parliament on the performance of the scheme.
Meanwhile, in a statement on another matter regarding the 31 worst performing districts in Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE), Muyingo explained that government has undertaken many measures to improve education in those areas.
The minister explained that in collaboration with the Office of the Prime Minister, the ministry for local governments, local government leaders, and development partners, they have implemented many interventions in the worst performing districts most of which are in eastern Uganda including distribution of textbooks, intensifying inspection efforts, and constructing 145 new schools.