KADAGA – Speaker Rebecca Kadaga has slammed the Ministry of Education and Sports for failing to secure funds for all students that applied and met requirements to obtain students loans, saying the decision by Government shows its failure to prioritise the education system in the country.
The Speaker made the jab during today’s plenary sitting while responding to remarks by Rosemary Sseninde (State Minister Primary Education) who said that whereas the Ministry of Education is interested in supporting as many students as possible, they are limited with finances and promised to ensure that in the next budget, the Ministry would raise the budget.
However, Kadaga wasn’t swayed by the Minister’s statement and lashed out saying, “It is interesting that many other things, the government comes for a supplementary but on the education to the children of Uganda, it is too expensive.”
The Speaker added, “When will education take priority in this country? They come here for other things, supplementary but education isn’t important. If you knew the number of letters I have, just me from children who are asking me to pay, it is a serious issue.”
Ibrahim Ssemujju (Kira Municipality) backed Kadaga arguing that it was about time Government reconsider the policy of providing loans to students joining tertiary institutions.
He said, “The Committee has a policy that students who have passed should apply, they apply and then you give a quarter of them. If the policy is under stress, do you still want to continue with the policy of providing loans to students in tertiary institutions? If yes, then you must accommodate everybody, you can’t choose and others say you have no money.”
The Speaker’s remarks come at a time when last month, lawmakers asked the Ministry of Education and Sports to consider increasing the number of students set to receive study loans after reports that over 5000 applications from students were thrown out.
In September 2019, the Ministry of Education in conjunction with the Higher Education Students’ Financing Board announced that 1,834 students had been awarded study loans by Government under the Students’ Loan Scheme for the academic year 2019/2020.
The Board while addressing journalists at Uganda Media Centre blamed the failure of some students failing to qualify on failure to beat the deadline while others submitted incomplete application forms, whereas some students missed out due to unaccredited programmes, unapproved higher education institutions by the board as well as unapproved programmes by the board.
However, the number of students who missed out on the loan raised concern in Parliament with Joseph Ssewungu (Kalungu West) highlighting that 7310 students applied and their applications were determined by students first getting application and of these, 1834 students were taken and 5476 students were left out.