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Students loan scheme records 10% increase in female beneficiaries

Education

Students loan scheme records 10% increase in female beneficiaries

Minister Muyingo

In the released list of successful loan scheme beneficiaries for the academic year 20202/21,

The Ministry of Education has registered a 10.6 percent increase in the number of female beneficiaries in the government higher education loan scheme.

While officially releasing the list of beneficiaries on December 15, at the Uganda Media Centre (UMC), John Chrysestom Muyingo, the Minister of State for Higher Education hailed the students loan scheme board for promoting gender equity.

Muyingo also appreciated the female students for taking up the opportunity to access the loan scheme.

“I thank the board for ensuring Gender Equity and promoting participation of our girls in sciences which were previously dominated by boys, I would like to encourage our females to continue applying for funding under the scheme,” he said.

Muyingo said: “It’s with great pleasure that females are picking much interest in pursuing higher education studies which boosts the gains of gender inclusiveness attained so far in reducing the disparity between girls and boys.”

He hailed the students loan scheme for opening up opportunities for less privileged learners.

“To-date the student loan scheme has awarded loans for up to 11,154 learners. Over 4000 have completed studies and are in the field contributing to nation building,” Muyingo noted.

According to Muyingo, this year, the Higher Education Students’ Financing Board received a total of 5,537 loan applications and awarded loans to 1,113 students representing a success rate of 20 percent of the applications received; 617 (55.4 percent) are male while 496 (44.6 percent) are female.

The board also took special consideration for persons with disabilities where it offered loans to the highest number of PWDs totaling to 24 students, 5 of whom were female and 19 male.

Meanwhile, the Minister added that the contribution of the loan scheme has greatly increased on enrollment of scientists through emphasis on the STEM programmers which has enabled government boast adequacy of health personnel even in times of pandemics like coronavirus.

“I am aware that in the last six years, the board has trained 3000 health practitioners in the field of medicine, nursing, midwifery, pharmacy, medical laboratories.

These are commendable efforts aimed at producing graduates with the relevant skills to spur economic development.

Loans are mainly awarded to students pursuing science and technology programs because as a country, we are still faced with a glaring shortage of manpower in science disciplines,” he said.

He added that the scheme has supplemented the government interventions at primary and secondary level where increased enrollment due to the success of universal primary and secondary education is seen.

“This translates into higher demand for tertiary education and I am happy that the loan scheme is helping government to ensure that many deserving Ugandans can continue with their education,” said Muyingo

The Minister further noted that government is committed to ensuring that access to higher education is increased trough continuous encouragement of  investment in higher learning institutions and that as government, they have registered a  great milestone in the subsector with over 220 higher education institutions and commitment to establish more.

“The government continues to establish more public universities to accommodate the increasing higher education. Last year in the 2019/20 academic year, we registered 105988 learners in only public universities up from 90359 in the FY 2018/19. This increase in number is partly attributed to the student’s loan scheme beneficiaries,” he said.

He however noted that government is determined to continue increasing the number of loan beneficiaries as envisioned in the ministry strategic plan under the objective of increasing access to education at all levels.

“We shall continue working with other arms of Government including parliament to increase the funding to ensure that more students gain access to the scheme,” he revealed.

Meanwhile, the Higher Education Students’ Financing Board chairman, Rev.Fr. Prof. Callisto Locheng noted that there has been an increase in the number of Universities benefiting from the scheme where they are now 22 from the 12 universities that started the scheme in the academic year 2014/15.

He further noted that the interruption by COVID-19 slowed down completion of the scheme activities from the usual completion month of September to December.

“However, this same challenge became a blessing for our online loan application mode, that we have had an unprecedented increase in the uptake of this application,” he said.

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