Isles ministry opens 2023/2024 application for students’ loans

THE Zanzibar Ministry of Education and Vocational Training has opened applications for 2023/2024 students’ loans.

The loan applications for students in Zanzibar commences today July 19 and will run up to September 18 this year, while in Mainland the exercise started on July 15 and closes in October this year.

The opening of loan applications was announced by Zanzibar Deputy Minister for Education and Vocational Training, Mr Ali Abdulghulam Hussein in a press conference here, explaining that the budget for the loans has been increased along with other incentives for loan beneficiaries.

“Funds injected in the Zanzibar Higher Education Loans Board (ZHELB) has increased from 19.3bn/- last year (2022) to 29.9bn/- this year (2023/2024). This is an opportunity for more students to apply,” he said.

He said that the Higher Education Students’ Loans Board (HESLB) in the Union government had its loan budget which has also increased to 731bn/- from 654bn/- last year, and students are free to choose where to apply for the loans, ZHELB or HESLB.

Mr Hussein said that it is an opportunity for the 2,570 students who passed their A’ level examinations this year scoring divisions I, II, and III with combinations to join higher education, and those who missed last year, to apply for the loans.

He said that the Zanzibar loan board targets to release loans to 2,425 students, up from 1,815 while its counterpart in the Union government is set to benefit about 205,000 students in the 2023/2024 academic year set to start in October, 2023.

“Students should be happy and thankful to our top leaders, Presidents Dr Samian Suluhu Hassan and Dr Hussein Mwinyi for their initiatives to enable more students pursue higher education,” he said, adding that the Value Retention Fee (VRF) has been removed.

The subsistence for Zanzibar students has been increased from 8,500/- to 10,000/- per student or 1.5m/- for students in Zanzibar Universities while those studying in Mainland will receive 1.8m/- annually.

The word ‘Boom’ is common among university students, especially those who receive loans from the loans boards. ‘Boom’ is used to denote the amount that students receive in loans as meal and accommodation allowances.

“Although the ZHELB is organising a weeklong awareness exhibition at Maisara ground to help students applying for the loans, I ask the journalists, to continue providing education to students and parents to ensure young people use the loan opportunities provided by our two governments, aiming at producing enough professionals for the development of the nation,” he said.

He urged students preparing to apply and join higher learning institutions to focus on priority fields in order to meet the needs of the labour market and interests of the government for its development programmes, including blue economy, health, science teachers and engineering.

On his part, the ZHELB Director, Mr Idd Khamis raised concern over delays in loan repayments, urging graduates who find jobs or means to repay, to do so because it is a revolving fund, “only five thousand out of twelve thousand owing the government, have paid. We are planning to take legal actions against those able to repay, but are dodging.”

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