HESLB: Pressure mounts on loans board as students cry foul

  dreamjobstz       12.11.17

Students who missed out on the beneficiaries’ list of the Higher Learning Students’ Loans Board (HESLB) yesterday expressed their frustration and blamed the government for not addressing their concerns through set procedures.

Speaking in Dar es Salaam at a meeting organised by the Tanzania Students Network Programme (TSNP), some of the students said they had been denied loans to pursue higher education despite submitting all papers proving they were either orphans or in dire straits.

They noted that a good number of the 31,000 students who were left out met requirements stipulated by the HESLB to get the loans. The students’ network now wants the ministry of education to issue a public statement on the fate of those who are aggrieved within five days so that they are not locked out of university registration.

“We want the ministry to issue a statement on what happens to these orphans and other needy cases that deserve to get university loans before Wednesday next week and before the window to register closes,” they said in the statement issued at the press conference. The TSNP said it will summon a meeting of all its members and the more than 30,000 unsuccessful applicants to pursue other means should the government either ignore them or fail to provide a solution to have all those who qualify continue with their learning. The network accused HESLB of using a poor selection criteria which was not fullproof.

“We also hold them accountable for the mess because as an agency it should run its own programme instead of seeking to implement other declarations by ministry officials,” they said.

HESLB was challenged to explain how it came to an early conclusion that only 30,000 students may qualify for the loans before the vetting itself. According to them, the government allocated Sh108 billion instead of Sh427 billion that it announced was budgeted for the exercise. “The reason therefore is lack of funds and not meeting selection criteria,” said TSNP in their statement.

The network addressed the press accompanied by some of the needy students who said they missed the loans despite meeting all the set criteria.

Edward John, who said he has been admitted at the University of Dar es Salaam College of Education (Duce), told The Citizen on Sunday that he attached death certificates of both his parents during the application but he found his name missing on the list of 30,000 beneficiaries.

He said he was losing hope of continuing with his studies fter trying hard to get the loan through the required procedures but in vain.

“I went to the loans board offices and I was told my examination number was not yet in their database. I followed up at the Tanzania Commission for Universities and I was informed that actually my number had been sent to the loans board already.”

“What surprises me is the way these two institutions claim they don’t recognise me even as the university has admitted me,” said John at the press conference.

Another student, Thiliphina Zimeiya who is in the second year of her studies at the College of Business Education (CBE), said that she has fulfilled all the criteria of being given a loan but she was also missing on the list announced by the loans body.

Like her colleague, she said she is a total orphan land that she submitted all the papers to prove it but her name did not even appear on the list of the first draft. “I wasn’t even told if there were any corrections to make on my application,’’ she said.

“I am an orphan. I missed the loan last year and tried out other avenues. This year, I submitted the application but I have also missed out. I now don’t know my fate,” lamented Zimeiya.

She urged the government to review the loan distribution priorities by offering tuition fees to every loan beneficiary and only setting selections criteria on meals, accommodation and faculty requirements.

“I have not started the registration process at the college because I don’t have Sh96,000 that is required and the deadline is fast approaching. This means that even if my appeal comes through and I am given a loan the university could still lock me out of pursuing my university education,” she said.

Aziza Rashid, who is in the second year at CBE said that he had issued his form four certificates as a bond with someone so that he could get a loan to pursue his first year studies, expecting that this year he would get a loan and pay back to get the certificate but he has missed out.

He said until now he doesn’t have the certificates because they are on bond until he pays.

“I am now getting confused. I don’t how this shall end. I am really getting mad, almost,’’ said Rashid.

According to the Director of TSNP from the University of Dar es Salaam(UDSM), Mr Abdul Nondo, this year’s process to allocate loans to students did not put into consideration the due criteria.

On November 7, the HESLB announced that it had opened an appeal window for students who were left out of this year’s loan allocation as well as those who were not satisfied with the loans they received.

The agency’s Executive Director Abdul Badru told journalists that most of the students left out did not meet the criteria set to qualify for the loans.

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