RE: “BRD grapples with student loan recovery, caution employers” (The New Times, October 15).
To say that the students’ loan issue has been poorly managed is an understatement. The systems in place were weak but nonetheless the unpleasant task of sorting the issues and subsequent loan recovery job has to be done to educate our younger brothers and sisters.
I have two suggestions on a quick and efficient way to do this.
1. Institute a clearance certificate for SFAR (Students’ Financing Agency of Rwanda) loans that all employers starting with government institutions as part of job application process. Clearance certificate may not necessarily mean one has completed, but one is in the process of paying, how much paid and the balance.
For those who did not receive the loans, the clearance certificate would simply indicate that they are in the clear. This is currently being done in Kenya, where all government jobs applications are done with clearance certificates from the Higher Education Loans Board. This will also mean that BRD will have to strengthen their systems to ensure they cope with the demand for clearance services.
2. Rwanda Education Board/BRD have a list of universities where they sent students for further studies in India, United Kingdom, South Africa etc. They should work with Higher Education Council to ensure that such students certificate are registered with the council and given unique tracking numbers which can then be used to identify any other loan beneficiaries that have fallen through the cracks.
Meanwhile, for those who (rightly) say they had no contracts, this is a case for the court to decide on and could put their case through the judicial process, although the money for this may simply outweigh simply accepting and paying up your loan.
I totally agree. To add to your comments, Rwanda Education Board should devise means of tracing student loan beneficiaries without even involving employers.
What interest do employers have in that? It is an extra cost that was imposed on them and, therefore, the bank should not expect good response from all employers. BRD should instead set up a collection unit to recover the money owed by students.
As for identifying which student is employed, BRD can have an arrangement with Rwanda Revenue Authority because it has the list of all taxpayers. A student who graduated and got a job cannot claim he/she is not working when a tax was deducted from their salary.
BRD can also have the same arrangement with the Ministry of Public Service and Labour as all employees are registered there. The collection unit I mentioned should be the one to find out which student graduated and got employed and not the employers.