MORE than 2.25tri/- has been dished out by the government in the past five years as loans to higher education students, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology Dr Leonard Akwilapo has affirmed.
Speaking in Dodoma during the working session that involved loan officers from more than 80 higher learning institutions, Dr Akwilapo said the number of students who benefited from the funding has increased from 98,000 in 2015 to 145,000 students in 2020/21.
He said timely disbursement of the loans has helped the government, the ministry and the Higher Education students' Loans Board (HESLB) to control unnecessary strikes and complaints by students as it was the case in previous years.
He commended the government for expanding the loans budget every financial year --a decision that enabled more Tanzanian students to access higher education in and outside the country.
Expounding, Dr Akwilapo said students' loan budget increased from 348.7bn/- in 2014/15 financial year to 464bn/- in 2020/21.
"The fifth phase government has proved its commitment of enabling students, especially from low income families to have their dreams realised," said Dr Akwilapo.
He used the occasion to remind HESLB officials of their noble role, including the need to conduct awareness programmes for the beneficiaries to repay their loans so that many more can enjoy the service.
Earlier, HESLB Chairman, Prof William Anangisye promised to judiciously spend 464bn/- disbursed by the government, saying timely issuance of loans to students will be observed to sustain harmony and tranquility in higher learning institutions.
According to Prof Anangisye, timely disbursement of loans to students is vital in enabling them to have peace of mind, an important aspect in studies.
Prof Anangisye was quick to caution loan officers to observe high quality of customer care to students as harsh answers lead to unnecessary clashes or complaints.
"You should be guided by integrity in your service delivery while exercising high quality customer care to students so that you do not frustrate them" said Prof Anangisye.
On his part, HESLB Executive Director, Mr Abdul-razaq Badru commended the government for its support, saying Digital Disturbance Solutions (DDS), an electronic payment system to loan beneficiaries, has been a blessing in effecting payment to students.
He said 132,000 loan beneficiaries will be paid through the DDS with an exception of fresh undergraduates until when their data are properly installed.
Speaking on disbursement of loans to students for the 2020/21 academic year Mr Badru said everything is properly coordinated, insisting that students will have their money before the reopening of universities.
He called upon the respective institutions to fast track processing of the documents.