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Higher education students’ loans to gulp 500bn/-

THE Ministry of Education, Science and Technology is planning to spend 500bn/- in the next financial year to provide loans for students of higher learning institutions through Higher Education Students Loans Board (HESLB).

Deputy Minister in the ministry, Omar Kipanga told the House here on Thursday that the money, which has been requested in the next financial year 2021/2022, is expected to increase the number of loan beneficiaries in a quest to have more students receiving loans.

He was responding to a question by Busokelo Member of Parliament Fredy Mwakibete (CCM), who wanted to know the government’s plan in helping more students from poor families to have access to loans.

According to the deputy minister, during 2017/18, the government provided 427bn/- in loans, while in 2018/19 the government dished out about 464bn/-.

Statistics from the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology show that in the past five years, the government increased loans to students of higher learning institutions from 125,126 in 2015 to 142,179 as of February 2021, and that for the past five years, the Higher Education Students’ Loans Board (HESLB) spent a total of 2.82tri/- in students’ loans.

Apart from higher learning institutions, in the education sector, generally, parents and children are currently benefiting from the positive results in the sector, including free basic education, investment in schools’ infrastructure and human resources as well as provision of students’ loans in higher learning institutions, among others.

In free basic education, as of February 2021, the government had spent about 1.291tri/-, which has increased school enrolment in primary school from 1, 386,592 in 2015 to about 1, 57,453 in 2020. And, with free basic education, the number of pupils who have so far received primary education has increased from 8,298,282 in 2015 to about 10,925,896 i n 2020.

Other achievements include an increase in the number of students in secondary schools from 1,648,359 in 2015 to about 2,185,037 in 2020, while the number of students joining Advanced Level education increased from 66,090 in 2015 to about 74,478 in 2020.

Pass rates for students in Form Four final examinations also increased from 68per cent (2015) to 85.8 per cent in 2020, while in form six examinations the percentage rate increased from 97.94 (2015) to 99.51per cent in 2020.

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