Elita Chikwati Senior Reporter
Government has re-introduced grants for students in State institutions, which were stopped several years ago due to non-repayment, to boost access to higher and tertiary education and empower people, especially the youths.
Students can start applying for the loans at the end of next month.
Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Amon Murwira yesterday said the facility was re-introduced after a realisation that many deserving students were failing to access loans, as the institutions were attaching stringent conditions.
He said during the past year, students had raised concerns over accessing education and conditions stipulated by private players.
Only 15 000 to 20 000 were accessing the loans, while many deserving students could not meet the conditions.
The students loan scheme is established in terms of Section 14 of the Manpower Planning and Development Act [CAP: 02] in consultation with the Minister of Finance and Economic Development.
The student loan scheme, which is meant to assist needy and deserving students, is administered by CBZ Bank and will be accessed through the institutions of higher and tertiary learning.
“We are trying to improve access to higher and tertiary education,” said Prof Murwira. “This is a loan which must be paid back to enable the sustainability of the critical intervention.
“We are now very strict. This is a commercial arrangement and students will have to pay (back). Government used to have this facility, but it collapsed during the 90s due to non-payment.
“We cannot continue to be careless and we will follow up on beneficiaries. We want to support and empower the next generation
“If assessed and approved, the beneficiaries will pay as they go. The payments will differ according to beneficiaries’ capacity. The system will be tailor-made to the capability of the individual.
“Sincerity was a challenge, we are sincere. People should own the country and take care of it, facilities that ensure higher and tertiary education become an opportunity to prosper.”
Students are expected to start collecting application forms from their respective institutions with effect from August 26.
“This date will enable institutions of higher and tertiary learning and CBZ to have made necessary preparations,” said Prof Murwira. “Terms and conditions apply.”