Jonathan Kurabu: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 6 November 2018:
The government of Sierra Leone has today announced that all higher education students enrolled in mathematics, engineering, agriculture, physics and chemistry courses, will receive government grant to cover their tuition fees.
This statement comes today on the back of president Julius Maada Bio’s announcement last week, that his government is planning to launch a student loan scheme to help poor students pay the cost of university and college education in the country.
The president was speaking at the inauguration of the 4th Njala University Court. He said that it seems obvious that the current university funding system is unsustainable, and that his government has resolved to introduce a student loan scheme which will provide loans to deserving students so as to widen access to higher education.
President Bio said the student loan scheme will relieve both the government and higher educational institutions of the perennial financial difficulties imposed by fees subsidy and grant- in- aid system.
The deputy minister of technical and higher education – Dr. Turad Senesie noted with enthusiasm the strides made by his ministry to ensure the commencement of the student loan scheme which he said would cushion the high cost of university education charges on parents.
Dr. Turad Senesie said that he and officials from NASSIT embarked on a tour of Ghana and Tanzania to study the challenges and success stories of their student loan schemes.
The Student Loan Scheme in Sierra Leone will target deserving students on the condition that they will pledge to repay the loan after completion of their programme of study.
Student Union representatives applauded the president for his initiative, adding that they remain indebted to the New Direction for the introduction of the free quality education and payment for University admission forms.
They however pleaded with President Bio to help cushion the hardship caused by the current university education fees, which they say is a huge burden in the face of serious economic hardship in the country.