KAMPALA – Parliament has on Tuesday, July 23, directed the Ministry of Education to seek a supplementary budget for additional funding to increase on the students benefiting from the loan scheme fund.
Speaker Rebecca Kadaga issued the directive after a complaint was raised by Hon James Kaberuka (Kinkizi West) who noted that although 7000 students applied for the loan scheme fund, only 1500 benefited leaving 5500 students with no hopes of advancing their education due to limited funds by Government to take on more students.
Hon Kaberuka said that underprivileged students do not get access to funds for their university education since they can not only afford about UGX 150,000 for fees each term at the secondary level and yet university education is more expensive for such families.
The Ministry’s decision to reduce the beneficiaries has dashed the students’ hopes of ever obtaining university degrees.
Hon Rosemary Sseninde, the Minister of State for Primary Education said that the Ministry’s decision was informed by the limited funding that was allocated to the scheme in the 2019/2020 financial year where only UGX 2.4Bn was allocated to the scheme.
“The loan scheme only benefits those students who are doing science courses at the university and other diploma courses and also students who are disabled are also given this opportunity. We have always given the public notice on how they can apply and when they apply, the loan scheme board sits and does the selection.” She explained.
The Speaker asked the Minister if they could consider a supplementary budget and if there were plans to write to the Ministry of Finance to work out on the supplementary budget for additional funds for the loan scheme.
“What the lawmakers want to hear is whether you would apply for a supplementary budget to support the additional students. Can you write to the Minister of Finance and support the supplementary?” Hon Kadaga remarked.
Hon Sseninde asked to return to Parliament with more information to enable the legislators make an informed decision on additional funding.