The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, wants Government to enhance the availability of funds under the Student’s Loan Scheme so as to improve access to quality education by youth countrywide.
She said the scheme has often times not been prioritised, citing several letters given to her by individuals who expected to have benefited ahead of their new school semesters, but have not.
“It is interesting that Government comes for supplementary funding on many other things apart from the education of children of Uganda, which is still expensive,” said Kadaga.
The Speaker made the remarks following a response by State Minister for Primary Education Rosemary Seninde on the failure by the Higher Education Students Financing Board to absorb over 4,000 applicants for the students’ loan scheme who had been duly admitted in various public universities.
Responding to the matter raised by Hon. Joseph Sewungu (DP, Kalungu West), Seninde told the House on Tuesday, 01 October 2019 that there were no funds to cater for the applicants under the scheme.
She added that the House had previously advised the Education Ministry to seek supplementary funding in that regard.
“We made a request in a letter to Ministry of Finance, who responded with a proposal that the students under the scheme be catered for in the 2020/2021 financial year,” said Seninde.
She added that the Education Ministry needed approximately shs5.1 billion to facilitate the remaining number of applicants.
The State Minister of Finance (Planning), David Bahati said the shs5.1 billion supplementary request by the Education Ministry could not be approved because Government, under the current budget, was still finalizing MTN licenses and capital gains from oil negotiations, among other items.
“We shall have a discussion with our colleagues from Ministry of Education and brief the House on a way forward,” Bahati said.
The Uganda Higher Education Students‘ Financing Board (HESFB) is a fund intended to provide financing to Ugandan students who have qualified for higher education in recognized institutions but are unable to support themselves financially.