By Jumah Nsubuga
Members of parliament sitting on parliamentary committee of education and sports chaired by Mityana district Woman MP Sylvia Namabidde says that, all government scholarships including State House scholarships should be scrapped and the money channeled to the Students Loan Scheme.
The legislators made their appeal while meeting officials from the ministry of education over the higher education students financing bill 2013.
Legislators that included, Joseph Sewungu, Amero Suzan, Jacob Opolot, Kamara Ninzeyimana, Magrate Achila among others argued that some government scholarships ,including those offered at State House usually benefit the rich and leaving out the needy ones. They asserted that the student’s Loan Scheme will benefit poor students as well.
The officials from the ministry of education led by the director higher technical vocational education and training ,Elizabeth Gabona, described the student’s loan scheme as an important programme which intends to finance students to pursue higher education in Uganda.
“The loan scheme is a dear subject to everybody in the country and people are just waiting parliament to pass it into law and start benefiting from it” She noted.
Mrs Gabona noted that in the East Africa region, its only Uganda and Burundi which are lacking such a scheme.She added that, they have made consultations from the countries implementing it and results show that it is a helpful scheme.
“We are waiting for parliament to pass the bill into law and kick off the programme to enable students to attend higher education.
“We want this programme purposely to help the poor not the rich because most of government programme benefits the rich and leave the poor ones yearning. I have a fear that, this loan scheme might end up helping the rich because they have easy access to the money. This bill should target all Ugandans not a few individuals” Said Nebbi district Woman MP Christian Acayo.
“This scheme might end up helping foreigners because so many foreigners are holding Uganda pass ports. How are we going to identify Ugandans who are qualified to benefit from this scheme? ” Soroti district woman MP Angela Osege asked
“This is a law we must handle with care if we are to give loans to students, we must enact this law with possible conditions to students. We need more time and consult different departments over this bill because it’s very sensitive” Said Hon Ninzeimaana.
The minister of education and sports Jessica Alupo tabled this bill at the floor of parliament last week for first reading and it was referred to parliamentary committee on education for further scrutiny.
The higher education students financing bill 2013 intends to finance students to pursue higher education in Uganda.