MPs Want Students Loan Scheme Reviewed

1610 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
Jacinto Ogwal, the Shadow Education Minister say the scheme is marked with discrimination and wants it opened to everyone who needs it.

Legislators are demanding for a review of the requirements for accessing the student loan scheme to cover arts students. They argue that the student loan scheme only favors science students. The MPs also say that, there are conflicting reports from various government officials on the scheme.
 
According to the MPs, President Yoweri Museveni said the loan would be extended to excelling students to pursue their tertiary education. However,they say that while presenting the 2013/2014 financial year budget estimates, finance minister Maria Kiwanuka said the scheme would only cover science students to enhance science-based skills in line with national priorities.

Jacinto Ogwal, the Shadow Education Minister say the scheme is marked with discrimination and wants it opened to everyone who needs it.  He also asked government to redirect some capitation grants to the Loan scheme.
 
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Cecilia Ogwal, the Opposition Chief Whip tasked the Education Minister to provide parliament with a justification for discriminating against Arts students. Rose Mary Sseninde, the Wakiso District Woman MP said Parliament should push the ministry to change its policy to allow Arts students access loans.
 
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Muwanga Kivumbi, representing Butambala County noted that he is yet to be told of a country that has transformed purely on the basis of scientific excellence.  He noted that Science is fundamental but that it is not the most important component in transforming a country. Santa Alum, the Oyam District Woman MP noted that there should be no reason for government to discriminate against Arts students. He argued that prominent leaders in the Country and the World are products of Arts Studies.
 
Alum noted that, even president Museveni studied arts but has managed to lead the country, adding that, there is no reason whatsoever that can convince them that Arts Students should not be supported. In her response, Jessica Alupo, the education and sports minister said the loan scheme covers all disciplines.

She says the student loans board decided to consider science students because only 5 billion shillings was allocated for the scheme in 2013/2014 financial year.
 
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On Monday, Government released a list of 1,269 students successful applicants for the loan. 2,109 students applied for the loan, which covers tuition fees, functional fees, research obligations, appliances and aids for people with disability. The Students are expected to pay back the money on getting employment after completing their studies.

 

About the author

Olive Nakatudde
Olive Nakatudde is a URN journalist based in Kampala. Nakatudde has been a URN staff member since 2013.

Nakatudde started out in journalism in 2009 with Dembe FM radio in Kampala. In 2012, Nakatudde joined Voice of Africa as a political reporter. She has been a photographer since her journalism school days at Makerere University.

Nakatudde is interested in good governance and public policy, which she reports on intensively from the Uganda Parliament. She is a keen follower of cultural affairs in Buganda Kingdom and covers the kingdom's Lukiiko (parliament). Nakatudde also reports on education and health.