Joseph Sewungu, the Kalungu legislator has vowed to fight the proposed student loan scheme by government saying no proper research has been conducted on the scheme. During the state of the nation address last week, President Yoweri Museveni announced the proposed introduction of the student loan scheme. According to Museveni, the loan will be extended to excelling students to pursue their tertiary education.
However, Ssewungu argues that most of the top performing students are from private school from wealthy families that can afford tertiary education. He questions that procedure that is going to be followed to ensure that children from needy families benefit from the scheme. Ssewungu, who is a member of the education committee of parliament, says that during their visit to Tanzania they were told that students apply for the loan schemes right from their villages at secondary level. He explains that immediately after their studies, the benefiting students are employed by government.
Ssewungu, explains that in Darla salaam there is a full department with established offices catering for student’s loans adding that students apply online and are assessed without any political interference. He says currently there are no guidelines to regulate the loan scheme, yet government has allegedly budgeted 4billion shillings for the loan scheme. Sewungu faults government for rushing the program saying it should target poor and needy students after a conclusive study has been conducted and rules set up to govern the scheme.
David Bahati, the vice chairperson of the NRM caucus says the education ministry will work out a criterion that will be used to select the beneficiaries of the student loan. He says the most important thing is that government allocates money, which Museveni has committed for the scheme. He says parliament will support the budget for the loan scheme once it is tabled for approval. He dismissed Sewungu’s claims that there are no guidelines to execute the loan scheme saying it was captured in the NRM manifesto.