Three days to the new academic year, students in higher learning institutions who appealed to the Student Financing Agency for Rwanda (SFAR), have been advised to source for their upkeep as they wait for a decision on their fate, which will take not less than three months.
This was said yesterday by the Director General of SFAR, Emma Rubagumya, while reacting to continued complaints by students who claim they were unfairly relieved of scholarship s.
The Education Ministry last year announced that it would stop paying university students on government scholarship the monthly stipend of Rwf25,000, following the reduction of higher education budgetary allocation by the central government.
The ministry said that the funds would instead be committed to infrastructural development at public universities.
However, following a subsequent evaluation of very poor students, the ministry decided to leave about 24 percent of the students on the stipend, which attracted complaints from some students who said they were unfairly excluded from the beneficiaries.
According to Rubagumya, most of the complaints filed to her office so far were those who wished to be placed into the category of students who could benefit in both tuition fees and upkeep from the fund.
“We have prepared forms to be filled by those who did not appear on both lists for review purposes, but surprisingly, the majority come with a wish to be placed on both lists,” she said.
She added that some students truly came from extremely poor families and errors might have been made while others had sponsors at secondary level but unfortunately might have passed away in the period after they had gathered the data.
However she revealed that some students were just not being sincere which could delay the whole exercise.
“The students should be sincere on information they give because this will require us to carry out another investigation to establish the needy…but the number of complaints will also determine the timeframe within which to come up with the decision,” said Rubagumya.
Meanwhile, it was established that students sponsored by FARG who were omitted from either of the lists or both will continue to benefit from the fund’s sponsorship.
FARG is the Fund for Support to Genocide Survivors.
“We have talked to FARG and the universities concerned and FARG has already asked them to re-register with them in order to review their records and the fund has promised to continue supporting them,” revealed Rubagumya.