HIGHER learning institutions have welcomed the government’s decision to inject an additional 70bn/- to the Students Loans Board for the fiscal year 2021/2022.
The government move, announced by the Finance and Planning Minister on Tuesday, aims at enabling all eligible students with admission at the higher education learning institutions to access loans for their studies.
The 70bn/- is an addition to the 500bn/- that was approved for the ministry of Education, Science and Technology to be spent by Higher Education Students Loans Board on loaning 148,881 beneficiaries, including 50,250 first year students and 98,331 continuing students in the next financial year.
Winding up the government budget for the coming financial year, in the National Assembly, on Tuesday, Dr Nchemba said the money has been added as mitigation to an experience of the last academic year, where around 11,000 students postponed their studies after missing the allocations from HESLB, despite meeting all the criteria.
The improved budget will cater for 10,000 more loan beneficiaries in the coming academic year, said the minister, shortly before Members of the Parliament voted for the government’s budget for the next financial year.
“This aims at ensuring that all students from poor families are pursuing their education, instead of leaving their families in a dilemma on how they can have money to take them to varsities,” he said.
Speaking to the ‘Daily News’ yesterday, some administrators from higher learning education institutions commended President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s government for its determination to support underprivileged students to realise their dreams of attaining higher education.
The University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) Prof Bonaventure Rutinwa said the move would cut a number of students who are postponing their studies due to financial constraints.
“It has been sad to see students being unable to pursue their dreams because of the lack of tuition fees and inability to meet other expenses, thanks to President Samia’s government for addressing this issue,” he said.
“As a university, we have received the decision with all hands since it will help more students who have made a lot of effort for them to qualify for higher learning education admission… it will help them pursue their dreams for their better future,” Prof Rutinwa added.
He admitted that last year a number of students wrote to his office seeking to postpone their studies.
“If a child passes an exam, it brings joy to a family, but grief if he or she fails to join university due to not being able to get a loan, it is good that the government has intervened,” said the UDSM don.
His comments were seconded by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) for Mzumbe University in Morogoro Prof Ganka Nyamsogoro, saying the government has taken fantastic efforts to help students, who were struggling to pay their tuition fee.
He said the extra money would also benefit universities as they will increase enrollment for undergraduate students.
“Credit goes to the government for coming up with this decision, it has been a psychological torture for students who have secured admission but end up postponing their studies after missing loans,” he said.
His sentiments were the same as the situation observed at the Moshi based Mwenge Catholic University (Mwecau) and the University of Iringa (UoI).
Speaking to this paper, the Mwecau Public Relations Manager Mr Athanas Sing’ambi apart from commending the government for creating an enabling environment for many students to acquire higher education, opened up about the college’s preparedness to receive around 2,000 new students in the coming academic year.
“There will be an increase of at least 300 students, going by previous year admission statistics,” he stated.
The UOI Public Relations Officer Mr Crispin Nyomoye said postponing studies due to financial constraints has been causing loss to the institution and students themselves.
He said at least 60 per cent of UOI students are HESLB beneficiaries and that allocation of insufficient budget to loan university students to some extent cripples their plans.