Review of university funding critical

LAST WEEK, the Ministry of Education announced a revision of bursaries for government sponsored students in public tertiary institutions effective next academic year (2013/2014).

LAST WEEK, the Ministry of Education announced a revision of bursaries for government sponsored students in public tertiary institutions effective next academic year (2013/2014).

The changes in the government’s funding arrangements for government sponsorship means there will be no grants component, and thus all funds paid out by government for students in tertiary institutions will be fully repayable, according to a government blueprint dubbed: Securing a Sustainable Future for Tertiary Education.

Some education experts have always argued that students and parents should accept tuition fees as an inevitable strain even on developed economies and that full government funding is not viable.

It is said that the average amount spent by government under the old scheme is Rwf26bn for 7,154 students.

Under the revised scheme, a reasonable amount of that money would be saved yet more students would benefit.

Under the new scheme, Rwf16.5bn would be spent on an average of 12,684 students annually, highlighting a reduction in government expenditure.

Understandably, the review would enable more students to benefit from students’ loan scheme.

Indeed, some studies have shown that it is more important to widen access not only because it’s socially just, but also because future economic growth will depend on having more people with higher level skills.

Analysts say the extra money needed to fund universities should come from savings in the student support system.

In England, the government recently announced a major review of the funding of higher education and student fees.

Other options for funding universities should be considered.

Education is important but students should pay more for it.

Basic education is an inalienable right. The government should have the responsibility to teach a person how to read and write, how to function in a democratic society, and how to apply basic mathematics.

What parents and students should understand is that post-secondary training should not be fully paid for by the government. New options, including having employers fund education in return for loyalty guarantees, should be explored. We should learn to become personally responsible for our own education to some degree.

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