Call to Disband Tanzania’s Higher Education Student Loan Board

The Guardian on Sunday reports that the Youth Wing of Tanzania’s leading political party, CCM, is calling for the dissolution of the Higher Education Student Loan Board (HESLB).  While the loans provided have enabled students from relatively poor families, including students taught by TETEA members, to pursue higher education that would otherwise be out of their reach, complaints include delays in disbursements.  “How come students stage a strike over delayed government bursaries today and on the following day are paid there money?” UVCCM committee member Zainabu Kawawa wonders.  “The government should take these public servants to court for occasioning huge loss,” she argues.  In an editorial, The Guardian on Sunday adds its voice to those critical of the HESLB.  Citing “incompetence manifested by poor record-keeping, late disbursement of funds to students, and a scandalously slow, messy recovery process” the editor recommends immediate dissolution or change in upper management of the HESLB.  The editor argues that this is a necessary step in breaking a disturbing cycle: pent-up frustrations of university students give rise to complaints and protests directed against university administrators who panic and call in riot police to quell discontent.  Additional challenges facing university students mentioned in the articles include “poor accommodation and catering services, shortage of furniture, and inadequately motivated and thus frustrated teachers.” Sources: “It is Time to Disband Students’ Loan Board,” by editor.  23 January, 2011. “CCM Youth Wing Up in Arms,” by The Guardian Reporter.  21 January, 2001.