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STUDENTS’ LOAN BENEFICIARIES FOR THE ACADEMIC YEAR 2018/19

 
             THE REPUBLIC OF UGANDA

MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND SPORTS

REMARKS BY THE HON. MINISTER OF STATE FOR HIGHER EDUCATION

AT THE RELEASE OF THE APPROVED SUCCESSFUL STUDENTS’ LOAN BENEFICIARIES FOR THE ACADEMIC YEAR 2018/19

13th September 2018
 
    THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE HIGHER EDUCATION STUDENTS’ FINANCING BOARD
    MEMBERS OF THE BOARD
    STAFF OF THE MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND SPORTS
    MEMBERS OF THE PRESS
    STAFF OF THE BOARD
    LADIES AND GENTLEMEN
    
On behalf of the Ministry of Education and Sports, I wish to take this opportunity to welcome you all and thank you most sincerely for turning up to grace this very important occasion when the Higher Education Students’ Financing Board is releasing the list of the fifth cohort of the approved Student Loan Beneficiaries for the academic year 2018/19
I would like therefore, to congratulate the Higher Education Students’ Financing Board upon releasing the results for the fifth cohort of the successful loan beneficiaries for the academic year 2018/19.
The Government of Uganda has registered yet another great milestone in achieving the education sector objective of increasing equitable access to Higher Education. You remember the Government under the leadership of H.E the President of the Republic of Uganda promised all Ugandans to introduce a Students’ Loan Scheme to address the problem of inequitable access to Higher Education and I must say the promise has registered great success. Introduction of the Student loan scheme is one of the fundamental changes brought about by the government of Uganda under the leadership of H.E the President of the Republic of Uganda-Yoweri Kaguta Museveni. It has supplemented other many good Government interventions introduced to increase equitable access to Education to all Ugandans.
Equally important is that the Government of Uganda is determined to address the Sustainable Development Goal number 4 of ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education for all at all levels of Education. Achieving inclusive and quality education for all reaffirms the belief that education is one of the most powerful and proven vehicle for sustainable development. This goal aims at achieving equitable access to affordable Higher Education training
On the Higher Education landscape interventions, there are now 212 Higher Learning Institutions (157 private and 55 public).  Currently, there are 43 Universities- 10 public and 33 private Universities and 171 Other Tertiary Institutions and Other Degree Awarding Institutions. The Government continues to establish more public Universities to accommodate the increasing demand of Higher Education. The Government shall continue providing equitable access to affordable Higher Education and to eliminate gender and wealth disparities with the aim of achieving increased access to quality Higher Education.
The good news this year 2018/19 is that the government increased the budget of the Board to UShs 27.7 billion and this has enabled the Board to award loans to a total of  2,950 students (2,459 undergraduate programmes and 491 diploma students) in addition to 3,496 other continuing students being supported. We have noted that many students are seeking for loans to enable them pursue Higher Education and there has been increased numbers of applicants over the years. This year, the Board received a total of 4,603 loan applications and awarded loans to 2,950 students, of whom 27% (792) are female and 2,158 (73%) are male.  This represents a success rate of 64% of the applicants. Loans are mainly awarded to students pursuing Science and Technology programmes because as a Country, we are still faced with a big shortage of manpower in science disciplines. In effect, the Ministry has doubled the number of successful loan applicants from 1,448 last year to 2,950 this year and we shall continue increasing the number as approved in the Ministry strategic plan under the strategic objective of increasing access to education at all levels. Todate, the Board has disbursed UShs 39 billion to 5,247 students and shall increase the funding to ensure that more students in the participating Universities and other tertiary institutions also qualify so as to widen access and give a chance to more needy students to attain Higher Education.
I am happy to learn that the diploma beneficiaries has increased to 491 this year as compared to 200 who benefited last year .Diploma programmes are mainly in the areas  science and technology, health sciences and science in education. For the second time, the Board has awarded loans to 31 Persons with disabilities to pursue humanity prrogrammes. Persons with disabilities were considered as a special group because of the eminent problems they go through to pursue sciences .This is a commendable job for which I applaud the Board.
The Board has to-date in total awarded loans to 8,197 students from its inception who are spread across 20 universities and 330 Other tertiary institutions. The Loans are awarded to needy students from poor households who are more likely to be out of school if it was not for the Government intervention. The Board in awarding loans took into consideration the regional balance, gender, equity and social economic status.  I want to applaud the Board for being very objective and transparent in selecting the loan beneficiaries.
A total of 1,751 students have completed their studies and are out in the field, some of them working while others are still looking for employment. The Board has given them a grace period of one year but also encourages early repayment incase you can afford. 628  students so far have completed the grace period and are expected to start repayment of the loans. These are loans and must be repaid back to create a revolving fund in order for others to benefit. The loan scheme is one of the ways Government intends to reduce income inequalities and reduce poverty by supporting students to attain  Higher Education and be productive in future.
I would therefore like to call upon the loan beneficiaries to take their studies seriously and finish in time with excellent grades.  This will enable them get jobs and be able to pay back the loans so that other needy students also benefit from the same funds.
As I end my remarks, permit me once again to thank and applaud the Members of the Higher Education Students’ Financing Board and Staff of the Secretariat for the tireless effort and good work done.  I want to equally thank all the stakeholders (Members of Parliament, Ministry of Education Staff, Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development; Universities among others) for the continued support to the Board and the Ministry at large.
I want to thank the Press for the good work you are doing for this Country and especially to the sector of education.
It is now my singular honor to release the list of the third cohort of the successful loan beneficiaries for the academic year 2018/19. I congratulate the successful loan beneficiaries and wish them success in their studies.

FOR GOD AND MY COUNTRY