Education scholarships: To give or not to give? (Scrapping scholarships will hinder competitiveness )

When I was in high school the one thing most students looked forward to was getting government sponsorship at university. The urge to get these scholarships meant studying hard to the extent that students spent sleepless nights so as to score the required points in the final exams.
Doreen Umutesi
Doreen Umutesi

When I was in high school the one thing most students looked forward to was getting government sponsorship at university. The urge to get these scholarships meant studying hard to the extent that students spent sleepless nights so as to score the required points in the final exams.

Because of the competitiveness involved in getting the scholarships, I had friends who would go as far as revising all the subjects they are taught at night with their legs in a basin full of water so as not to fall asleep. To be honest, they actually got the points and attained the courses they wanted to pursue. 

But with the different debates out there on whether the government should offer scholarships or subsidise university tuition, to be honest, the spirit of competitiveness and career aspirations will die a natural death. The number of students in A’ Level that were going out of their way to score distinctions will drop because the will have no enthusiasm in excelling since there is no goal to achieve.  I will call a spade a spade and not a big spoon; if there is no government scholarship on merit, there are some university departments or Bachelors Degree programmes that will get limited entries because of several reasons.

There are some programmes that so expensive, not everyone can afford given the requirements. Citizens need the government’s backing in such scenarios.

For example I remember when our A’ level results came out. Though I didn’t get the points for government sponsorship, most of my friends had attained the support and many of these were offered scholarships in Education. But because of the misconception related to becoming a teacher, they were hesitant to take on the course.  They even went as far as applying for changes so as to be given other programmes but they were told that there were no vacancies in other programmes. They had to take on the options they were given. But had it not been a scholarship, these students would not have spent money paying for a Bachelors Degree in Education. Therefore before any decision about scraping government scholarships is taken, if it’s not already too late, I believe consultations should be carried out and hence achieve the target of at least 10% population of university graduates as suggested by economists for any country to achieve its sustainable development.

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