The students’ loan scheme, proposed by the minister of Education last year, will be officially launched by President Yoweri Museveni at Kyambogo University, according to the Presidential Special Assistant for Communications, Ms Sarah Kagingo.
Jessica Alupo has inaugurated the board to manage the students’ loan scheme. The Education minister warned the members against embezzling the money.
The students Loan scheme will be headed by Prof. Calisto Locheng, a lecturer at Alokolum National Major Seminary in Gulu district. Prof.Calisto is heading a nine-member board.
The students’ loan scheme was inaugurated at the ministry’s headquarters Tuesday 22nd April.
The Government has reserved funds worth 5b shillings to cater for 1,000 at the start.
Alupo revealed that the scheme will start with undergraduate science courses while postgraduate students will come be cater for at a later stage.
But there are more plans under the Uganda Students’ Higher Education Financing Policy to provide loans for arts and humanities courses that will be approved by the Board.
According to the policy, at full implementation, 60% of the loan money will go to non-science courses and 40% to sciences with an aim of bridging the non-science to science enrollment ratio in institutions of higher learning from the current 4:1 to 3:2.
Parliament last week passed a motion recommending a review of the district quota system for admission of students to Makerere University.
Alupo warned board members against bribery, saying priority should go to needy students.
“The scheme is to address the problem of inequitable access to higher education. Many students cannot afford the ever increasing tuition fees. The board should look out for those who cannot afford fees in a transparent manner,” she said.
Prof. Locheng also promised to facilitate a transparent system. “People are looking at us to deliver. We come in with energy to deliver a noble dream for the development of Uganda,” he said.
The proposal to introduce the students’ loan scheme in Uganda was first mooted in 1990. The popular respondents’ view was that financing should be based on need but not type of the course.
However, the final policy wants the ministry to cater for courses that will equip students with the necessary skills for national development.
Other members of the Board include Prof. Asibo Opuda, the executive director of the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE), Prof. Christine Dranzoa, vice chancellor Muni University, and Solome Luwaga, a council member of the Federation of Uganda Employers.
Elizabeth Gabona, the director of higher education represents the ministry on the Board which also consists of Bro. Legesi Mwanika, the treasurer general of the National Organisation of Trade Unions (NOTU).
Other members include Esther Kyozira, secretary of the National Union of Disabled Persons of Uganda (NUDIPU), William Ndoleriire, assistant commissioner for social services in the ministry of finance.
Mohammad Sserwadda, executive secretary of the Uganda national students’ association and member of the loan Board, pledged to sensitise needy students especially in rural districts to to seize the loans opportunity.