By Geoffrey Wakibi
Financing education, meeting sector EDPRS II targets
The Education Sector Strategic Plan ESSP is the foundation of the education sector aligned with the Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS). The EDPRS logical framework clearly sets out the purpose of the education sector in relation to the Government’s overall goal for the EDPRS.
While the overall goal of EDPRS II is to achieve sustainable development and social development through poverty reduction, the function of the education sector is to steer this up by accessing equitable, quality and effective educational skills through human capital development programs including the bursaries & student loans programs. “Access to high level education skills boosted by the EDPRS IINew tertiary education financing mechanism for more beneficiaries, better employment opportunities bursaries will enable Rwanda narrow the unemployment gap that has been responsible for high poverty levels,” observes Mugisha. that is eating up the East African region,” says Mugisha.
It is against that background and as the demand for capacity augmentation of the workforce in Rwanda gains stronger and firmer momentum that the government has embarked on filling the skills gaps through human capital development programs including the Bursaries & Student Loans Program. Since 14/5/2015, there has been a new mechanism of tertiary education financing whereby the disbursements and recovery of students loans will be done by the Development Bank of Rwanda (BRD) with effect from September 2015. Deliberations between the Ministry of Education (Mineduc) and BRD on the modalities of implementation of higher education loan scheme started in December last year.
According to Fred Mugisha, Director of Policy Research and planning, at the Higher Education Council (HEC), the government support to the bursary and loan scheme and the efficiency in the system will result in an increase of students accessing bursaries and/or loans by more than twice compared to the situation today. “However, current and future loan beneficiaries are reminded that funding is only available for specific study programs’ durations as stated in the admission letter and any extensions shall be at the expense of the concerned student,” he warns.