Little Interest In Govt Student Loan Scheme

by | Mar 25, 2024 | Business, Local News | 0 comments

Little Interest In Govt Student Loan Scheme

 

Staff Reporter

 

A $110 million student loan programme set up by the government about six years ago failed to attract enough traction forcing the authorities to come up with other interventions, a cabinet minister has said.

 

Responding to questions from parliamentarian in the House of Assembly last week, Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Minister, Professor Amon Murwira said the loan scheme was set up with the CBZ Bank in July 2018.

 

“During that time, we put $110 million in CBZ but it looks like people actually do not want to borrow money. This money was borrowed by very few students,” said Prof Murwira. “That is why we then thought about the work for fees programme which seems to have a more uptake. If you go to the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) today, you will be able to see that the majority of people who are working in the university’s industrial park, who are working in the UZ grounds and so forth, are actually students.”

 

“If you look at that new bus terminus that we built at UZ and you look at the pavement that was done by students who are doing the work for fees programme. So, we have programmes but we also have to admit that we are not 100 percent in terms of effectiveness.”

 

He said government policy on higher education is not to allow any brain to go to waste meaning everybody has to be nurtured to help develop the country.

 

“It is in government interest that everybody goes to school; goes to university; goes to college; goes to any training institution so that they can use their minds and their head for the modernisation and industrialisation of this country,” said Prof Murwira.

 

The Minister said every effort has to be made to ensure access to education in the country but has to be paid for by the public and the State to ensure that it is of high quality that can result into knowledge and skills that boost the capability to develop the country.

 

Under the work for fees programme, students that are unable to mobilize enough fees are enrolled by the university into work for the university and then the university helps them to pay for the fees or waive the money.

 

“We started experimenting with this programme in 2019. Now, this programme is very mature. If you go for example to Midlands State University, we have more than 300 students who are on this programme,” said Prof Murwira.

 

However, he said the programme was being affected by the failure of deserving students to acknowledge their poverty in order for them to be helped.

 

“People shy away from asking for help. In actual fact being afraid of saying you are poor is the biggest enemy that you can have,” he said.