• ZANEC would like to express its profound gratitude to Government on awarding of additional 2,780 student loan scholarships.
• This means that over 5000 first year students at UNZA have so far been granted loan scholarships.
• This is the highest number recorded since operationalization of the scheme.
Various stakeholders in the country have been calling on government to allocate enough money to the students’ loan scheme to allow more learners to access finances for their education as the number of students requiring loans has increased.
Student loans are an important means to obtaining a higher education for vulnerable students who cannot afford to sponsor themselves.
These loans help students pay for user fees, filling financial gaps and providing essential funds to cover higher educational expenses.
Late last year, Higher Education Loans and Scholarship Board awarded loans to 2,481 first year students at the University of Zambia (UNZA) for the 2021/2022 academic year from 10, 682 applicants.
The Board only awarded loans to applicants with 5 and 6 points at the institution and this prompted some students who were left out to stage protests in Lusaka saying they too were eligible.
However, in February 2022, Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) officially handed over K65 million and US$57, 000 recently recovered from Lusaka journalist, Faith Musonda to Ministry of Finance and National Planning.
And Minister in charge Dr. Situmbeko Musokotwane announced that the money would be channelled to over 2,200 first-year UNZA students who earlier did not benefit from the scholarship loans scheme for the 2021-2022 academic year.
The Higher Education Loans and Scholarships Board has since awarded 2,780 additional student loans to some of the first year students at the UNZA.
The development has elated various stakeholders in the education sector including Zambia National Education Coalition (ZANEC).
ZANEC Executive Director George Hamusunga commended Education Minister Douglas Syakalima for securing the additional funding from the Ministry of Finance.
Mr. Hamusunga is optimistic that government will continue prioritizing investment in all levels of education so that every eligible learner is able to access quality higher education.
“The Zambia National Education Coalition (ZANEC) would like to express its profound gratitude to Government through the Higher Education Loans and Scholarship Board on the awarding of additional 2,780 student loan scholarships to University of Zambia (UNZA) first year students for the 2021/2022 academic year.”
“This positive development means that over 5000 first year students at UNZA have so far been granted loan scholarships, the highest number recorded since the operationalization of the scheme,” Mr. Hamusunga said.
He also called on former student loan beneficiaries who are now earning an income to start paying back their loans so that more students can benefit.
And Mr. Hamusunga said the Board’s decision to award scholarships to the differently abled in the first selection will go a long way in promoting equity at tertiary education level, in line with the country’s aspirations of not leaving anyone behind.
“Further, we note that the Board has followed the affirmative action for prioritising rural and female applicants who have received 30% of the scholarships each. It is also gratifying that all applicants with disabilities were awarded scholarships in the first selection. This will go a long way in promoting equity at tertiary education level, in line with the nation’s aspirations of leaving no one behind,” he noted.