POVERTY throughout the world has cut many bright students’ education dreams, throwing them into the vicious circle of paucity.
Many parents, especially in rural areas have seen all their hopes of having their children lifting them out of their pathetic lives disappearing into thin air as they fail to sponsor their education beyond high school. This has seen governments world over coming up with various intervention measures meant to help such students.
And, Tanzania is not an exception as, through the Higher Education Students’ Loans Board (HESLB), many students from disadvantaged families have had their visions restored as they get the chance to attain higher education.
It is unfortunate that some people who did not deserve the loans also benefited, in the process denying those with genuine needs. As if that was not enough, some beneficiaries of the loans disappeared into thin air soon after graduating, without repaying the loans.
Despite being employed, some beneficiaries deliberately dodge to repay their loans, knowing that it will be difficult for the Loans Board to track them down and demand their dues.
This has seen many other deserving students failing to get the loans because some of the beneficiaries have forgotten how the same loans rescued them from the jaws of poverty.
It is against this background that the HESLB has been busy hunting down loan defaulters to make the fund recurrent so that no bright but poor student will have his or her dream cut short due to lack of funds. And, as of now, the Loans Board has invaded the Parliament with the aim to identify and fish out legislators who benefited from the loans but did not repay it.
The office of the Clerk of the National Assembly is conducting a verification exercise to find out if there are legislators who benefited from education loans from HESLB from 1994/95 onwards and have not paid back.
Reading out directives to MPS, the Deputy Speaker, Dr Tulia Ackson, said the verification exercise is being carried out because most of the legislators were doing other duties before they were elected in 2015. Legislators should lead by example and repay their loans without being pushed.
Most of the loan defaulters took advantage of the change in handling of loans from the Ministry of Education to HESLB. And most of those who disappeared into thin air are those who benefited between 1994 and 2005. It is high time that all those who are still to repay do the right thing.
They should voluntarily approach HESLB and make plans to repay the loans for the benefit of others. The HESLB should also put in place plans to prosecute those who deliberately hide without servicing their debts.