Parliament has rejected a motion to extend the Government Loan Scheme to Private Universities in a vote of 74 to 51 votes.
The motion was moved by Kamfinsa Member of Parliament Hon. Engineer Christopher Kang’ombe was seconded by Chama North Member of Parliament Yotam Mutayachalo.
In his debate Hon. Kang’ombe said since 1966, the Zambian Government has been investing in higher education, in order to promote human capital formation, which is essential for the socio-economic prosperity of the country. It is worth noting that until 1996, what the Government provided were higher education bursary grants.
He said Government, later on introduced a cost-sharing policy in all public institutions of higher learning, which led to some fees being charged on students. However, this cost-sharing policy proved to be a hindrance for the majority of school leavers, who were from poor families, resulting in the Government’s decided to continue giving bursaries to some students who were considered to be vulnerable.
“In 2004, the bursary scheme under the old bursaries committee was reformed to introduce the student loan scheme. As such, Government started giving out educational loans to some students at the University of Zambia (UNZA) and the Copperbelt University (CBU)”.
He further stated that following the enactment of the Higher Education Loans and Scholarships Act No. 31 of 2016, Government fully operationalised the loan scheme, and in 2018, began recovering funds as loan repayment from former beneficiaries of the loan scheme. Since the commencement of recoveries, the Government has so far recovered part of the money, which has been pumped back into the Loans and Scholarships Fund.
In 2019, a landmark decision was made when the loan scheme was extended to other public universities such as Kwame Nkrumah, Chalimbana, Mukuba, Mulungushi and Palabana Universities.