HIGHER Education Students Loans Board (HESLB) plans to complete installation of over 123,000 higher learning institutions students into the Digital Disbursement Solution (DDS) system by December this year.
HESLB Executive Director Abdul-Razaq Badru confirmed the plan here over the weekend, arguing that the new system will eventually simplify disbursement of loans to the qualified students.
According to Mr Badru, so far around 50,000 students— 34 per cent of the target—have been entered into the system. “This system was designed last year and it will help in curbing the challenges being encountered currently in disbursing loans manually.
We are on the right track and we hope to be done by the end of this calendar year,” he said.
Mr Badru and other senior officials of the board were in the lakeside city as part of their annual routine tours of colleges to check issues pertaining to disbursement of loans to the target students as well as getting students and college administration’s views on the loan issuance.
At Saint Augustine University of Tanzania (SAUT), Mr Badru challenged the students’ organisation to collaborate with the college administration to solve emerging issues that cause delays of loans allocated to intended beneficiaries.
Briefing reporters, he said it had been agreed for SAUT to address all the issues leading to delays of loans disbursement to over 5,000 students scheduled to receive over 19.8bn/- this academic year.
He said loans to SAUT makes six per cent of the total 420bn/- allocated to all students of the higher learning institutions this year, saying the institution with 11,000 students is one of the varsities with high growth rates in the country.
“To date, private universities, including SAUT, accommodate 30 per cent of all students in the country’s higher learning institutions…I challenge all students getting loans to use them well by studying hard and acquiring the necessary skills,” he said.
Since this year’s academic calendar kicked off, Mr Badru said, HESLB has visited over 24 higher learning institutions, collecting different opinions on how best the loans should be administered to the interest of the beneficiaries who will repay them upon completing their studies.
SAUT Vice-Chancellor Prof Gabriel Mbassa reaffirmed the administration commitment to work on all issues affecting students, including making sure that they get their loans on time.
Prof Mbassa who joined SAUT from Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) last August said he will strengthen the loans department by increasing workforce from one to three staff as well as installing enough computers to facilitate the task.
The Loans Minister from Saint Augustine Students Organisation (SAUTSO) said loan delays and exclusion of other students from the bursaries due to different reasons have already caused mayhem, with some female students being impregnated and other students abandoning studies.