19 December 2012

Tanzania: HESLB Eyes Sh39 Billion Loan Recovery

THE government's budgetary allocation to the Higher Education Students' Loans Board (HESLB) is expected to be cut as the board looks forward to collect 39bn/- in loans recovery, this financial year.

HESLB Director of Planning, Research and Information Communication Technology, Mr Asangye Bangu said that in the financial year 2011/12, the loans board recovered 9bn/- which was then disbursed as loans.

"We only started revolving the money recovered from loan beneficiaries to other students who need loans and as years go by the government's budgetary allocation is expected to reduce gradually.

"We, however, are urging beneficiaries to pay back the loans so that more students are able to access the funds for their higher education," Mr Bangu noted.

Mr Bangu was presenting a report to the World Bank delegation on reforms that were carried out on HESLB and the Tanzania Commission for Universities (TCU) with the aim of making both entities more efficient. World Bank provided technical support including capacity building, training and loans repayment enhancement through Science, Technology and Higher Education Project (STHEP).

Mr Bangu noted the reforms have, among other issues, enhanced reaction of loans repayment awareness, through print and electronic media. By the 30th of June, 2012, the HESLB had collected 20.15bn/- out of 39.54trl/- due for collection, Mr Bangu explained, adding that computerization of the board's operations has significantly improved service delivery.

The total amount of loans disbursed to higher education students between July 1994 and June 2012 is 1.14trl/-. In this financial year 2012/13, the board has been allocated a budget of 326bn/- for lending 98,772 students. Meanwhile, the Central Admission System (CAS) under the Tanzania Commission for Universities (TCU) has been ranked number one in the African continent.

Presenting a report to the World Bank delegation yesterday on CAS, the TCU Executive Secretary, Prof Sifuni Mchome, said out of 30 good practices from 16 countries in Africa, CAS was picked as the best by the African Quality Assurance Network (AfriQAN) and the International Network of Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education (INQAAHE) forum held in Nairobi in May, this year.

The admission system has been highly recommended within and outside the country, drawing interest from other countries," he explained. TCU was invited to make a special presentation on CAS, to share the practice with other African nations at the 5th International Conference on Quality Assurance in higher education in Africa held in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, last September.

He said some of the benefits of CAS are: It is more accessible countrywide and has reduced costs of application for prospective students. Prof Mchome said CAS has managed to address challenges that arose including multiple selections, forged certificates and applicants spending a lot of time and money applying for admissions at universities.

Through CAS, the commission has been able to document students with special needs, who were 450 (154 females and 256 males) in the 2012/13 admission circle.

Detailing the advantages of CAS, Prof Mchome said the system complements the loans disbursement process to students admitted in higher education institutions, thereby increasing access and efficiency in loans management. It was also revealed that the Loans Board and TCU will be operating from the same database to minimize costs by June, next year.

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