Thursday, 24 April 2014

AVOID TAKING THE STUDENT LOAN OR ELSE RISK POSSIBLE IMPRISONMENT


You may rush and join the beneficiaries of the Students’ Loan Scheme as well as vote the NRM come 2016, but be sure, when you fail to pay, you will go alone to the prison.

I have been one of the advocates of a scheme which would be manageable and has no conditions for getting beneficiaries to prison.  Instead, Government is pushing for a scheme which looks like sugar coated, but not only will it not be unsustainable, but the cost to beneficiaries will be great including going to prison.

Below is my argument against a loan scheme in Uganda where students pay after:

A LOAN SCHEME WHERE STUDENTS REPAY AFTER GETTING WORK CANNOT WORK IN UGANDA AND IS BOUND TO FAIL

One thing I have learnt from the long tenure of NRM in power is that some people think that they know, yet in actual fact they know not.  I have all along been an advocate for an Educational Loan Scheme which is sustainable, not one which is a big joke.  Government is implementing a student loan scheme where students will pay after graduating and getting work.  We have time and again brought it to the attention of Government that what makes sense to help big numbers of the ever increasing student population at tertiary level is to think about lending to the parent benefactor who foots the bill as he/she has income out of which payment can be made.  As of now, the parent has some source of income; secondly he/she is liable to see the child/student go to school to get some qualifications.  What magic is there that government thinks will help many students to be bailed?  The parents today foot millions of shillings to sustain the children up to completion of academics; the best approach would be to make the repayments small for them.  Such payments can be deducted from monthly salaries such that tuition for a year is payable in installments say over 2 years.  Meaning that as money is advanced to pay student tuition, it is being paid back and the system has sure recovery measures.  Merely coping what has been done elsewhere with successes or even failures will not help the NRM Government which has a very poor record on recovery of such funds.  There are however a few exceptions in the category of the children who have no parents/benefactors to meet fees for them, who can benefit from purely student loans and make payments after completing academics.

I am an advocate for an educational loan scheme which makes sense not a gamble which will be empty, and I stand firm on my legs that now that Government has endorsed the scheme where students will pay on completion of studies, it will be most unfortunate when it collapses shortly.  Better to listen to advice than implement things which cannot work in Uganda setting. 

Students’ loan scheme launched


Mr George Byarugaba (R), explains to President Museveni during the inspection of exhibition materials at the launch of the student’ loan scheme at Kyambogo University in Kampala yesterday. PHOTO BY Rachel Mabala. 

By PATIENCE AHIMBISIBWE

Posted  Thursday, April 24  2014 at  20:09
In Summary
The scheme is intended to enable students from poor background to access higher education using money borrowed from government.


Kampala.
President Museveni yesterday warned that government will arrest students who will default in paying back loans acquired under the students’ loan scheme.
The President was speaking at the launch of the scheme at Kyambogo University where he drove an ethanol powered car, an innovation by the university community.
The scheme is intended to enable students from poor background to access higher education using money borrowed from government.
However, they will be expected to repay the loans on completion or risk a fine not exceeding 50 currency points (Shs1m) or imprisonment of six months, according to the law.
“Many of the parents are having problems in paying money for students who don’t get government sponsorship. That is why we said let us have a student loan,” President Museveni said.
“It has low interest because of inflation. It is to make the money retain the value as last year. We are starting with six billion but it will increase. Remember you have to pay back when you finish and get a job.
Otherwise we shall have to come to where you are working and arrest you for defaulting and also for being a bad Christian, a bad Muslim or even a bad pagan.”
He said State House scholarships which have been consuming Shs30b annually will be phased out and the money channeled to the scheme.
“We want to phase that out State House scholarships. We shall initially start with scientists and Arts should wait a little bit. When the money finally grows, we shall consider Arts. This is the apex of our education funding plan,” Mr Museveni said.
Recovering Kyambogo land
He assured Kyambogo staff that he will help them recover their land which they have lost to investors but reminded them that challenges on staffing as outlined by the university council chairperson John Okedi will only be increased when the resource envelope improves.
There are nine members of the board who will be headed by Prof Callisto Locheng currently at University of Sacred Heart, Gulu.
With the launch of the loan scheme, Education minister Jessica Alupo said she has now accomplished the four assignments the President gave her when she was taking over office and asked the public to exercise honesty by allowing those who can’t afford paying access the scheme.

COMPOSITION OF BOARD
Prof Callisto Locheng
Prof Opuda-Asibo
Prof Christine Dranzoa
Elizabeth Gabona
Mr William Ndoleriire
Solome Luwanga
Mr Mohammed Sserwadda
Stephen Legesi Mwanika
Ms Esther Kyozira


2 comments:

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