Dar es Salaam — Challenges of verifying birth and death certificates during the higher education loan application process are likely to be resolved following an improvement pact signed yesterday by the relevant institutions.
The Higher Education Student Loans Board (HESLB) and the Registration, Insolvency and Trusteeship Agency (Rita) signed a memorandum of understanding for the cooperation of their institutions in strengthening the entire students lending process.
Although these institutions have been co-operating prior to this agreement, the system used led to delays, ease of forgery of certificates, as well as the lack of direct cooperation between loan applicants, HESLB and Rita.
Speaking during the signing ceremony held in Dar es Salaam yesterday, HESLB's executive director Abdul-Razaq Badru said the move was to officially confirm their improved coordination.
"We have switched all our processes to the ICT system, so we must work with our colleagues with whom we have been working closely in verifying information that concerns students, especially birth and death certificates," he said.
He said the agreement will focus on verifying the certificates for applicants in need of higher education loan, exchanging verification certificates for applicants' certificates and exchanging practical experience between staff of such institutions.
"We aim to ensure that those who apply are correct to avoid what has happened in previous years where people submitted inaccurate information," said Badru.
For her part, Rita's Acting Chief Executive Officer, Emmy Hudson said in the past they were sent a pile of student papers for verification but now they are doing electronic audits.
"Since May 31 we have issued guidelines on how to verify birth and death certificates. I urge parents and students to use the system that is easy and already in place," said Ms Hudson.
She added that so far they have received 13,938 birth and death certificates for verification directly from students and already 7,334 applications have been processed.
Ms Hudson urged students to use the time allocated to do the review so that they do not get disturbed when the HESLB application period arrives.
However, Mr Badru said in the 2021/22 financial year, the government has allocated Sh500 billion to cater for higher education loans in which at least 160,000 students will benefit up from 149, 472 students in the Sh464 billion allocated in 2020/21 financial year.