Part of the students who will join university this academic year at the closing of Youth in National Service –Urugerero recently
Following numerous complaints filed by students about the student loan bursary categories, government has ordered districts to get back to the drawing board and solve all underlying problems to do with wrong categorization of students under the Ubudehe classification programme.
In March this year, Ministry of Education revised bursaries for government sponsored students in public universities and other tertiary institutions effective this academic year (2013/2014).
In the new scheme, the government is now giving bursaries and monthly upkeep allowances only to students whose families are in category 1 and 2 of Ubudehe, which includes the poorest of society.
Students whose families are in categories 3 and 4 have to pay half tuition fees and meet their monthly upkeep while those in category 5 and 6 foot all their tuition and monthly upkeep.
As of now the ministry has received over 6,000 complaints from students from categories that have to pay half tuition of Rwf300, 000 per annum or the full amount Rwf600, 000 per annum.
Some of the students this website spoke to say that their families cannot support them through their education due to wrong categorization.
“My family was put in category three because we own a plot of land and a small house, but truth is that that if my family decided to sell the house, I would only be able to pay two years of my education on top of leaving us homeless,” said Ethienne Ndoli a second year student at the Kigali Institute of Education (KIE).
Now, a communiqué from the ministries of Education and Local Government released this week says that a taskforce has been put in place at district level to examine the complaints and ensure fairness in the process.
The taskforce which is made up of vice mayors for social affairs, district education officers, officials in charge of good governance and security officers will not change the categorisation of particular students but will review financial capacity of the complainants.
The team will then give a report back to the two Ministries for decision making after ten days which start on Wednesday September 11.
Education officials insist that the new scheme was adopted to enable more students to benefit from the students’ loan scheme.
Previously, for science students, government paid Rwf1.25m per year while for non-sciences, Rwf950,000 was being paid as student unit cost directly to tertiary education institutions.
But under the new arrangement uniform student unit cost of Rwf600, 000 will be paid.
According to official statistics, the average amount that was being spent by government under the old scheme is Rwf26billion for 7154 students.
But under the new scheme, Rwf16.5billion would be spent on an average of 12,684 students annually, highlighting a reduction in government expenditure.
In addition to increasing the number of beneficiaries, the Ministry says that under the new scheme, the saved Rwf10 billion, will be channeled into infrastructure development as well as equipping of educational institutions so as to help improve the quality of students.