Sunday 31 January 2021
IS THE NRM GOVT. SERIOUS ABOUT THE EDUCATIONAL LOAN SCHEME?
To: Abbey Semuwemba <email@example.com>, Owor Kipenji <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Patrick Otto <email@example.com>, Lucy Larom <firstname.lastname@example.org>, David Mitchell <email@example.com>, Giles Muhame <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Moses Nekyon <email@example.com>, Rehema Kampala <firstname.lastname@example.org>, barigye <email@example.com>, <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Abdul Nasser <email@example.com>, Jimmy Akena <firstname.lastname@example.org>, <email@example.com>, <firstname.lastname@example.org>, <email@example.com>, <firstname.lastname@example.org>, <email@example.com>, <firstname.lastname@example.org>, <email@example.com>, <firstname.lastname@example.org>, <email@example.com>, <firstname.lastname@example.org>, <email@example.com>, <firstname.lastname@example.org>, <email@example.com>, <firstname.lastname@example.org>, <email@example.com>, <firstname.lastname@example.org>, <email@example.com>, <firstname.lastname@example.org>, <email@example.com>, Nyar Nyar'Onyango <firstname.lastname@example.org>, <email@example.com>, <firstname.lastname@example.org>, <email@example.com>, joseph ochieno <firstname.lastname@example.org>, <email@example.com>, <firstname.lastname@example.org>, <email@example.com>, <firstname.lastname@example.org>, <email@example.com>, <firstname.lastname@example.org>, <email@example.com>, <firstname.lastname@example.org>, <email@example.com>, <firstname.lastname@example.org>, <email@example.com>, <firstname.lastname@example.org>, <email@example.com>, <firstname.lastname@example.org>, <email@example.com>, <firstname.lastname@example.org>, <email@example.com>, <firstname.lastname@example.org>, <email@example.com>, <firstname.lastname@example.org>, <email@example.com>, <firstname.lastname@example.org>, <email@example.com>, micheal senyonjo <firstname.lastname@example.org>, <email@example.com>, <firstname.lastname@example.org>, <email@example.com>, <firstname.lastname@example.org>, <email@example.com>, <firstname.lastname@example.org>, <email@example.com>, Godfrey Sekisonge <firstname.lastname@example.org>, <email@example.com>, <firstname.lastname@example.org>, <email@example.com>, <firstname.lastname@example.org>, <email@example.com>, Willy Kituuka <firstname.lastname@example.org>, <email@example.com>, <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Isaac Balamu <email@example.com>, Ahmed Kateregga Musaazi <firstname.lastname@example.org>, <email@example.com>
It is not clear whether the NRM Govt. is serious about the educational loan scheme. The shs 5bn into it is a drop in the ocean, and Govt. ought to know that the commitment goes on till the students finish their studies.
Below are our ideas and those of others that the NRM Govt. doesnot seem to take seriosly in implementing the scheme, meaning that it WILL NOT be sustainable.
In his 2001 Election manifesto, President Museveni promised to implement an Educational Loan Scheme, today, ten years after, nothing of the type is in place!
Attention: The Hon. Minister of State for Higher Education; Ministry of Education & Sports
The 2003/04 academic year for Universities and tertiary institutions is starting late September 2003 without an Educational Loan Scheme in place. This state of affairs is very sad on the part of Makerere University Private Students’ Parents’ Association (MUPRISPA) Ltd. The effort to see the Educational Loan Scheme was started by the association in July 2001. The association (MUPRISPA) went at length to appeal to His Excellency the President to have the scheme in place. This was followed by an appeal to the Hon. Minister of Finance to incorporate a provision for the Educational loan scheme in his 2002/03 budget. Fortunately, the Hon. Minister incorporated shs 400m for studies to see the scheme in place. The association went ahead to write “A comprehensive feasible and sustainable educational loan scheme in Uganda,” and also, “Identifying clientele for the educational loan scheme and loan recovery measures.” All this was done to see that the educational loan scheme is implemented as soon as possible given the suffering of the parents/benefactors to meet the tuition fees lump some and also beat the University deadlines. Unfortunately, the scheme seems to be a long way from implementation with a lot of uncertainty.
In my letter dated July 9, 2001 to His Excellency the President of Uganda, “The students’ loan scheme at Makerere University and parents involvement,” I on behalf of Makerere University Private Students’ Parents’ Association wrote: “The parents are happy to learn that in your 2001 Election Manifesto among other things you clearly stated thus, “My Government will establish an Educational Loan Scheme to increase access to higher education.” Given this position, the parents have endeavoured to come up with “The feasibility of a Student Loan Scheme attached; this according to the parents as a starting point in helping Government to see to the implementation of your manifesto.”
“The feasibility has a background quoting various authorities and their emphasis of the necessity of the said scheme. The report also shows how the private scheme has made a substantial contribution to sustain the University, and it is no surprise that senior lecturers can earn over the equivalent of US $1,300 plus the improved infrastructure at the University to mention but a few.”
“However, it is also realized the scheme bags near to U shs 16bn to date from parents majority of whom are paying a great cost to see the finance of their children’s education. It is bad news to learn of the rate at which parents are parting with value, like land, houses to finance this education! In essence, the parents are being impoverished a situation that is likely to endanger the future of the families.”
Given the situation where many students are failing to raise tuition and others dropping off as they fail to raise the funds, it has become absolutely important that Government takes the Student Loan Scheme as a priority that should be implemented as soon as possible.
Much as our association has all along been interested in the development of the loan scheme, it is not until the story: “Shs 6bn loan for students,” that appeared in the Sunrise news paper of September 5-12, 2003 that we may be in for a shock when the final students’ loan scheme comes to reality.
The scheme may flop miserably given the trends seen so far. Among these, the Uganda Educational Loan Scheme MUST be original given Uganda’s circumstances and not a duplication of what goes on elsewhere with Student loan schemes. It is against this background that MUPRISPA does not approve of students being borrowers irrespective of the courses they are taking in the higher institutions of learning. What MUPRISPA identified was that parents/benefactors have a cash flow problem given the amount of money most of them earn as salary and the competing needs to which they spend this money on. So, it remains in the Uganda focus that the scheme should actually bail out the parent/benefactor who foots the bill now; reasons being that the chances of students meeting repayment after is uncertain given the unemployment levels in the economy. Second, that students previously helped with post dated cheques by lecturers as guarantors had greatly absconded and the liability had remained to the lecturers to pay back! Third, that many Ugandans had shown that they take funds from Government as if manna from Government, hence reluctant to pay back. Fourth, that a situation where the loan scheme would be managed as a micro finance undertaking stood higher chances of sustainability, and also more acceptable to prospect funding organizations and less likely to be abused.
The other trend observed is the categorization of some courses as more worthy beneficiaries of the loan scheme, hence chances of ruling out students of Humanities to take loans. This position is unacceptable as it shall deny Career Development for students who love to pursue courses in Humanities. And, it is equally true that as Uganda progresses it will need all these categories of manpower from professors to those who may end up as self employed.
It has also been noted that the scheme may award loans that could go up to shs 14m. This is equally unacceptable. Loans should strictly reflect the tuition fees payable and basic course projects and tour needs by student beneficiaries.
If Government goes ahead to grant loans to students payable after they have graduated, it will be most unfortunate. The scheme will not only be unsustainable from the word go, but it will also register high default rates and suicide by some beneficiaries on failing to meet repayment may not be ruled out.
The Sunrise newspaper talked about shs 6bn for the loan scheme. This is a drop in the ocean. Our proposal is for Government to procure at least US $40m World Bank (IDA) loan and put this in the hands of the Loan Secretariat and shs 6bn to be the yearly addition to the scheme from the Government budget to ensure sustainability as the repayments are made to the creditor.
The Proposals briefly are:
1) Repayment period to be twice the number of years the student’s course duration in the higher institution of learning;
2) Monthly equal installments repayment for the duration, or as may be agreed depending on the parent/beneficiary income expectation;
3) Membership subscription fee not less that shs 100,000 payable on enrolment to the scheme;
4) 5% Commitment fee on each semester fees payable to the Loan Secretariat by each beneficiary;
5) No other interest payable;
6) At least one guarantor to the parent/benefactor and the student being the 3rd party;
7) Have public servants’ children automatically qualifying to join the scheme (mostly those in lower salary category levels);
8) Ensure that each loan beneficiary open up a Standing Order with his bankers to ensure easy recovery of the funds;
9) Terminate the loan in case 3 consecutive installments are not paid;
10) Have diploma holders/Masters and Ph D students out of the scheme;
11) Put a law in place to ensure that at no moment in time does Government encroach on the Loan Scheme funds;
12) Give all applicants a chance to apply and screen them according to set procedures;
13) Ensure that the Loan Secretariat is run on own generated funds from membership fee and the 5% Commitment fee;
14) Loans should not consider students opting for studies outside Uganda for the start;
15) Vet applicants using Schools attended, Occupation of parent/beneficiary (ability to pay University fees), size of families and NOT LC infrastructure which has proven corrupt in many instances;
Government tables Bill to fund higher education loan scheme
The government has tabled a Bill to fund the higher education loan scheme. The Higher Education Students Financing Bill 2013 was sent to the Education Committee for consideration, and following the Speaker’s directive, will be back in the House for debate in 45 days. “Given the importance of this Bill, I am going to be strict on the 45-day rule,” Ms Rebecca Kadaga said.
The Bill, which was tabled by Education minister Jessica Alupo, is to fill the void and establish a scheme to finance higher education in Uganda and establish the higher education students financing board and a fund to finance the scheme.
If passed, the Bill will make it easier for students to pursue higher education in accredited and recognized institutions. “Due to the improved access to basic education through the introduction of universal primary and secondary education, there is currently an upsurge in the number of school-going children...” the Bill’s preamble reads.
According to the Bill, a loan shall cover tuition fees, functional fees and research fees, where required for the course or programme of study. It may also include specified amounts in respect of accommodation or meals, where the Board determines that the funds are sufficient to provide for those items.
However, according to the Bill, the board, the implementing body headed by an executive director, shall not be responsible for any additional fees required or incurred as a result of the change in course or programme.
The board shall also be responsible for the selection of the type of courses awarded for the loan.
After applying for the loan, the board will consider the application in 21 days and a person aggrieved by the board’s decision may appeal to the minister of Education within seven days after receipt of the notification.
On top of the loans, the Board shall also give out scholarship as determined by the board in courses critical to national development.
Every student loan shall be repayable with interest that shall be determined by the minister in consultation with the minister of Finance.
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
The proposed students’ loan scheme: opportunity to right the wrongs of financing University education
Stephen Christian Kaheru
With the introduction of Universal Primary Education (UPE) in 1997, primary schools in Uganda saw an upsurge in numbers of pupils. The drastic swell did not only overwhelm the infrastructure but also the teacher-pupil ratio and quality of education soon became a fundamental issue.
The pressure on the infrastructure and teachers aside, the UPE bulge soon manifested itself in soaring numbers of primary school pupils joining secondary school. Some years later, in 2007, the Government introduced Universal Secondary Education (USE) paving the way for more boys and girls to transition to secondary school.
For some time now, UPE and USE have been implemented as means-blind interventions to enhancing access to basic education. However, the attainment of basic education only is far from the end of the educational trajectory of many young Ugandans.
Opportunely, with increased access to basic education, UPE together with USE have had a combined ripple effect of increasing enrollment at institutions of higher learning.
The Government support for higher education at public universities has been receding since the 1990s. The reduced support, administered in gradual doses, has been characterised by trimmed budgetary allocations compelling cuts in numbers of student admitted.
The unfavourable funding climate also affected students’ welfare envelope resulting in reduced allowances and in some cases, scrapping them. In spite of these adjustments, the numbers of students completing secondary school and qualifying with two principal passes to enroll at University have been escalating.
About 65,000 boys and girls qualified to enroll at university and other tertiary institutions this year, compared to nearly 62,000 in 2010. The Government has been supporting about 4,000 students every year at the five public universities including Busitema, Gulu, Kyambogo, Mbarara and Makerere.
For a number of years, Makerere, the country’s oldest public university maintained its intake of the Government sponsored students at about 2000 of those who qualified for university enrolment.
This leaves scores of secondary school students enrolling at private universities while others find solace in pursuing their academic journeys at other tertiary institutions. Clearly, not every student who passes A-level can enroll at university. In consideration of the rising demand for higher education, the state has proposed introducing a loan scheme to enable under resourced students completing A-level to consummate their schooling with university education.
The proposal is a laudable step in enhancing access to opportunities for higher education. While addressing members of the National Executive Committee (NEC) on April 24, President Museveni regretted that the students’ loan scheme had not yet been implemented.
He, however, sounded resolute on finding a way round it and even appealed for support on that front.
Uganda’s history with interventions aimed at easing access to higher education through minimising barriers is not so lustrous. While there have been some initiatives designed to promote access to university education, the implementation of some of these schemes has been fraught with challenges, prominent among them being modality of operation.
No sooner had the Government introduced the university quota system in 2005 than it sparked criticism with more and more dissenting voices questioning its modus operandi which sidelined its intended beneficiaries.
Recently, there were media reports that an internal audit report of Makerere University had exposed a number of irregularities in awarding scholarships. While these experiences are certainly not worth writing home about, therein lies the ground to build a steady foundation for the proposed students’ loans scheme.
The question of who is deserving of financial support is pivotal to the implementation of the loan scheme as much as it is for an equitable quota system for university admissions.
The inability to assess genuine need as the basis for eligibility of support is a path that we should not tread again. A fundamental aspect of student loan scheme that the Government will need to consider seriously is to have the loans based on real need.
One of the flaws of the quota system was that it failed to meet its objective of easing access for students from underprivileged parts of the country. In the end, students from urban-based well to do families who had enjoyed high quality pre-university education made it on the beneficiary list, edging out their ill-facilitated counterparts in rural schools.
An institutionalised means of accurately assessing the socioeconomic status of applicants as the basis for awarding of loans underpins the success of the proposed scheme.
However, this implies that the robustness of means testing is at the heart of identifying the genuinely needy. This can only be based on reliable data and, therefore, investment in collection of reliable data cannot be overemphasised.
The experience of Swaziland, Lesotho and Ethiopia where all university students are granted loans has shown that the more focused student loan programmes are, the higher their chances of sustainability.
As long as the scheme does not have an in-built mechanism of targeting the truly needy, it is unlikely that it will serve the purpose of enhancing access to university education for scores of deserving but financially constrained students.
Student loan schemes in Africa, just like some scholarship programmes which carry repayment obligations have, in many countries, registered dismal recollection rates.
In Kenya, a number of graduates who benefitted from loans from Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) have not honoured their obligations to date and are all over the world. Some years back when loan recovery hit prohibitive levels, the Government of Botswana established the Loans Recovery Service Division as it considered outsourcing loan recovery.
The need for a sturdy system to track debtors so as to bolster collections is central to the operation of the loan scheme as a revolving fund. In as much as loans have to be recovered, it is also essential that effort is made to raise awareness of all beneficiaries that loan repayment is the mechanism for keeping the fund running.
As with scholarship programmes, it will be critical to have strong administrative infrastructure put in place for the management of student loan scheme. The case for administering the students’ loans through a dedicated agency has its strong points. If well managed, a separate body such as the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) in Kenya,
Higher Education Students Loans Board (HESLB) in Tanzania, Student Financing Agency for Rwanda (SFAR) in Rwanda, Student Loan Trust (SLTF) in Ghana ensures a degree of administrative transparency. In addition, these semi-autonomous agencies provide a means to avert government bureaucracy that usually tends to get bogged down with inadequate resources and systems.
Right from the onset, it is vital that the operations of the students’ loan schemes be anchored in an enabling legal environment. The success of loan programme is dependant on the legal foundation in which it is buttressed and of particular importance is the legal backing for loan recovery.
Enabling legislation is inextricably linked to loan recovery in that, however meticulous the tracking of debtors is, without legal ground, beneficiaries cannot be compelled to pay back. Likewise, even when recovery is predicated on exacting deductions by the employer in collaboration with other statutory mechanisms as is the practice in Ethiopia, Namibia, Kenya; it has to be legally provided for.
Student loan schemes have been implemented to serve various objectives in different countries. In Botswana, the loan scheme was open to all students. However, the burden of repayment varied with the field of study.
South Africa’s National Student Financial Scheme mainly served a completion objective by converting 40% of the loan to a grant for students who upheld an exceptional academic standing. In Lesotho, the student loan scheme was, among other aims, employed as disincentive for brain drain requiring graduates who chose to emigrate to pay back 100% of the cost.
By President Museveni affirming that the students’ loan scheme would lift a heavy burden off parents, it is implicit that a fundamental objective of the proposed scheme is to ease access to higher education.
However, central to this intervention is the sustainability of the resource flow for the scheme. All said and done, it will be in the ability to sustain the proposed scheme as a pipeline of financial support that the goal of extending higher education opportunities for generations of Ugandans will be realised.
Stephen Christian Kaheru works with the Association for the Advancement of Higher Education and Development (AHEAD) in Kampala.
By July 2019, of the targeted shs 284bn from OTT, only shs 49.5bn was collected. Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) registered a shortfall of shs 234bn, this was 83% of the target.
This time round, the Government of Uganda cut off social media on January 12, 2021. By the time of this post on January 31, 2021 the social media platforms are still off.
It is a few Ugandans whose phones cannot download VPN that are in a complete blackout as regards social media access. Some have gone to the extent of looking for Android phones so that they can access social media.
The cutoff of social media has been a punishment to those who were religiously paying OTT so as to be able to access social media.
The question is: Since most people do not like to pay taxes, will the Government of Uganda still target OTT as a viable source of money to URA?
The problem of cutting off social media is clear, lower collection of OTT will be registered yet Government needs more resources to finance its budget.
Brother (Dr) Cosmas Kiwanuka Kafeero’s Speech on the occasion of his Golden Jubilee as a Brother of Christian Instruction – 2nd January 2014.
Brethren, I stand firm today to thank the Almighty God in no mean terms for the much fruitful life He has accorded me as a Brother of Christian Instruction, and it is time to celebrate the 50 years today. My name is Brother (Dr) Cosmas Kafeero, son of the Late Joseph Kisanafutekizindwa Lwanga of Kabuwo Village: Bukunda - Ttala in Masaka Diocese. I made my 1st Religious Commitment in 1963, I thank God for He has not only helped me to get religious nourishment and growth, but Has also guided me well through the various academic ladders up to a Doctorate for which I thank Him so much. And, armed with the spiritual guidance as well as the academic credentials, I have been able to nurture many not only in the field of academics for various achievements, but also in spiritual guidance.
Religious Brotherhood can be a way of life that will bring you deep peace, real fulfillment, and great satisfaction in knowing that you are closely following Christ. The work that a Brother does is largely dependent on his own talents, gifts, and interests. The spirit of faith induces a Brother to see God in all things, to suffer everything for God, and above all to sanctify himself. The spirit of zeal attracts him towards children to instruct them in the truths of religion and penetrate their hearts with the maxims of the Gospel, so that they may make it the rule of their conduct.
In thanking God, I wish to refer to the Scriptures below:
1. “We serve a God who keeps His promises... every single time. But how do you make it through the gap between receiving the promise and the promise being fulfilled? How do you keep the faith?” – Luke 1: 46 – 79
2. “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.” 1 Chronicles 16:34.
3. “I will give thanks to the LORD because of His righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High.” Psalm 7: 17
4. “The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.” Psalm 28: 7
5. “Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.” Psalm 106:1
“Aging is a challenge to an adult. In my case, the health problem which is hypertensive; was very difficult to identify as an individual. So I could not identify that condition until I suffered a devastating stroke. In this condition, speech failed and even other skills could not be exercised.” I thank God that through sickness, He has enabled me to endure, and I keep thanking him for the life He has given me, and the abilities for my life career. To all who have made sacrifices to see me through my sickness and for all the prayers, I am most grateful. I am very grateful to the institution of the Brothers of Christian Instruction, and to the members of St. Mary’s College Kisubi Community.
In life we make mistakes, I wish to say sorry to anybody I may have wronged in my career life as a Brother and also as a teacher. Please forgive me.
I pledge to serve the Lord our creator for all my remaining days in life. So, help me God.