People in the country have been assured that the Higher Education Students Loan and Grants Board (HESLGB) will continue to mobilise resources to help needy and deserving students’ to access tertiary education.
HESLGB Executive Director, Chris Chisoni made the assurance on Tuesday at Nankhwali Community Day Secondary School (CDSS) during the board’s awareness campaign and a tree planting exercise whose theme was: ‘Planting trees, giving hope to the future.’
He assured students across the country that the institution of higher education loan facility is making steady progress in providing loans to the needy and deserving students to access higher education both in private and public universities.
The Executive Director said the aim of the awareness campaign was to give people in hard to reach areas an opportunity to know some of the services the board provides especially needy and deserving students so that they are not denied the chance of obtaining higher education.
“Nankhwali CDSS was particularly selected as an entry point for the awareness raising campaign on the existence of the HESLGB in order to motivate the students and surrounding communities to work hard in class, so that when they pass and get selected to any institution of higher education they don’t get stranded,” Chisoni said.
He observed that it was important for people to know the availability of the loan and grants so that they could pursue their tertiary studies to any level that they want besides engaging them in tree planting activities.
“Considering that people living in remote areas always have problems in accessing information, we believe that this awareness campaign will help a lot of students not only at Nankhwali CDSS but other students around the area of TA Nankumba to be aware of the opportunities that HESLGB is offering,’’ Chisoni said.
He said HESLGB has since disbursed loans to 12, 460 students in both public and private universities since November 2015 against the backdrop of 10,200 applications every year.
“Although the board is there to support needy students, application is not an automatic qualification into the granting of the loan because they still have to go for screening to ensure the applicants are eligible before loans are administered,” Chisoni added.
He said their loan recovery campaign of HESLGB commenced on April 1, 2016 with the aim of reaching out to more former beneficiaries through bill boards, radio and newspaper adverts.
“We have engaged different professional bodies like Malawi Law Society for the lawyers and Medical Association of Malawi for medical doctors to recoup money owing the board,” Chisoni hinted.
According to him, so far, they have generated over K75 million from the process of recovering of the loans.
Commenting on the campaign, Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) Mangochi Diocesan Secretary, Bruno Banda said students who are needy have been accessing loans at HESLGB and the office of CCJP in Mangochi has never received any complaints that a deserving student has been denied an opportunity to access the loan.
“As a Commission we promise to work hand in hand with HESLGB so that we use our well established outreach structures and disseminate information to effectively reach out to the rural areas of the district,” he said.mbc