The Executive Director HESFB Mr.Wanyama (seated Right)Professor Christine Dranzoa (second Right),the RDC AruaMr.Oya(centre) and other participants at the Desert Breeze Hotel

District Leaders and Head Teachers in the West Nile region were on 20th February sensitised on the HESFB Student’s Loan Scheme at the Desert Breeze Hotel in Arua District.

The Resident District Commissioner Arua Mr. Oya Nahori, welcomed the Executive Director of HESFB Mr. Michael Wanyama and his Team to Arua and  thanked them for making an effort to come and sensitise the Leaders in the region about a very important scheme. He said under the leadership of HE: Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, the government has made efforts to ensure that all citizens are equipped with relevant knowledge and skills.

However, since inception of the Students’ Loan Scheme in 2014, out of 10,000 beneficiaries, a negligible fraction comes from the West Nile region and he wondered whether this is due to lack of information, unbearable terms or non-acceptability, which he trusted would be addressed during the Workshop.

The Executive Director HESFB Mr. Michael Wanyama, expressed gratitude to the Resident District Commissioner for the warm welcome, the Vice Chancellor of Muni University Professor Christine Dranzoa who is also the Chairperson of the Students Loan Scheme Committee, as well as the participants for turning up for the high level consultative workshop aimed at soliciting views on how to increase participation rates of students on the loan scheme, and how best they can propagate the government intervention of supporting the needy learners to access higher education. He urged the leaders to contribute ideas that will help the management of the scheme in policy formation aimed at increasing access to higher education.

The Higher Education Students Financing Board is a body corporate established in April, 2014 by an act of parliament - HESFB Act No.2 of 2014, with a mandate to provide financing for higher education in form of loans and scholarships. It is mandated to offer loans and scholarships to Ugandans who intend to pursue an accredited course of study or programme of Higher education in an accredited Institution of higher learning recognised by National Council of Higher Education.

According to the Executive Director, total enrolment in Higher Education Institutions (HEI) stands at about 261,000 students of which over 240,000 are struggling on their own to fund tuition fees and other costs which has led to many qualifying students to fail to join higher institutions due to lack of fees among other reasons.

He said currently the gross enrolment ratio in HEIs stands at 6.8% which is the lowest in East Africa despite the country having some of the best universities in Africa such as Makerere University and Muni University among others.

He supplemented that since inception in 2014, the number of loan applicants has been increasing, 26,698 applications have been so far received out of which loans have been awarded to 10,041 which is 38% success rate hence without this scheme, the 110,041 students would have failed to advance their studies.

The Vice Chancellor of Muni University Professor Christine Dranzoa, who was the Chief Guest at the workshop,extended her appreciation to the Government of Uganda for establishing the HESFB, and the Executive Director HESFB for the great achievements made under this scheme. She said 62 students of Muni University are studying under the scheme.

She also expressed gratitude for the sensitisation workshop which she deemed important particularly in the region,she appealed to the HESFB to include Bachelor of Science of Agriculture as a new accredited program in the list of programs the scheme considers for award of loans.she revealed that newprograms have been added to the existing programs of Muni University which include

  1. Bachelor of Business Administration and Management BBM)
  2. Bachelor of Science in Agriculture (ASM)
  3. Bachelor of Education (Primary) BED-P
  4. Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE)

She said Government of Uganda has taken steps to make education accessible and information is a powerful tool and therefore appealed to the participants to take the sensitisation meeting seriously as the establishment of this board is very important.

She said Government is determined to increase the number of students on this scheme and Government will continue to establish more Public Universities to accommodate the increasing number of Students hence there’s need to keep updating this kind of information so that people know, she encouraged the participants to go out and spread the gospel of the scheme to both Parents and Students in order to advance their academic careers especially reach out to the girl child and be ambassadors of this scheme.