Malawi Parliament Tuesday threw the Higher Education Student Loan Bill no. 1 of 2015 back to its committee on education, science and technology after members failed to reach a consensus as regards effective handling of loans given to the students.
The Bill, tabled by the Minister of Education on February 5, provides for the establishment of the Higher Education Students Loan Board that will be responsible for overseeing and managing higher education student loans and grants.
Scores of Malawians, especially those that have gone through public universities, have benefitted from the scheme with only a dismal percentage coming forth for repayment. Most have blamed their failure to pay on unavailability of a proper institution to manage the process.
Delivering an analytical report on the Bill, education, science and technology committee chairperson Dr. Elias Chakwera made a number of proposals and recommendations for consideration and adoption.
Among other things, Chakwera recommended that an executive director and a deputy should be hired to manage the student loan scheme, and a board be appointed to execute hiring exercise.
But many parliamentarians who commented on the report described it as “unsatisfactory” and referred it back to the committee for further scrutiny.
DPP Phalombe East legislator Amos Mailosi said employing two senior officers to manage the institution would be a careless drain on government’s coffers.
“An executive director will be enough for the organization,” he said. “We are already experiencing monetary challenges in the country.”
Mailosi described the proposal by the Committee to have the president appoint a board of members as “mere politicking.
“Will a board of members be really necessary?” he wondered.
But Chakwera insisted that a board be appointed.
“But they [board members] should be subject to confirmation by the Public Appointments Committee (PAC) of the National Assembly and their removal from office should also be subject to the approval of PAC,” said Chakwera.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :