Education Min. On Student Loan Scheme

By Ayodele Deen Cole

A delegation to Tanzania led by the Deputy Minister for Technical and Higher Education, Dr Turad Senesie has received commendations from different stakeholders in that country’s education sector.

Members of the delegation also include, the Principal Deputy Financial Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Mr. Matthew Dingie, Mr Mohammed Gondor, Deputy Director General, National Social Security and Insurance Trust (NASSIT), Dr. Alhassan Mansaray, Director, Fiscal Risk Management, Ministry of Finance, Dr Ezekiel Duramany-Lakkoh, Head of Department, University of Sierra Leone and Mr Osman Kamara, Senior Budget Officer, Ministry of Finance among other senior government officials.

The Deputy Minister and team were in Tanzania to study the Tanzanian success in the student loan scheme. The scheme which offers loans to students in universities is one of the campaign messages by the new government to boost access to education nationwide.

Speaking to Tanzanian officials, the head of the Sierra Leonean delegation, Dr. Senesie said the team had learned a lot of things on running of the system through their engagements with different stakeholders in Tanzania. “It was through the engagement that we have been enlightened on the legal structure, policy as well as disbursement and recovery of the loans. We are African brothers and thus a model development in the continent is ideal for us,” the Deputy Minister remarked. Dr. Senesie stressed that his country would not reinvent the wheel on the model developed by Tanzania but would instead expand the scope of funding by exploring other sources of financing.

In response,  The Executive Director of the Tanzania Higher Education Students’ Loans Board (HESLB), Mr. Abdul-Razaq Badru said  the scheme which offers loans to students in universities was established over 15 years ago and despite some teething challenges here and there, it has registered considerable successes.

The HESLB boss pointed to the fact that had it not been for the scheme, many students from poor families would not have been in position to pursue higher education.