By Jariatu S. Bangura
Members of Parliament have yesterday approved Paul Joseph Amara as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Student Loan Scheme.
The leader of the Coalition for Change party (C4C), Hon. Emerson Lamina who is also the seconder of the motion for the approval of the nominee encourages the CEO to do well so that the many students that are in dire need of the loan will benefit from the scheme.
He said a number of students at the University of Sierra Leone and other colleges protested for the creation of this scheme and now that it has come to a reality, there is need for such to cut down on the numerous drop-outs for lack of educational funding.
The C4C Parliamentary leader said the CEO should note that all should benefit from the scheme despite the region they hailed from so that the scheme will not be short-lived.
He said the nominee should have migrant loan scheme to get more source of funds.
Hon. Lamina cautioned the committee to takes note of the Borrowers’ Act so that student would fully repay as expected. “Regulations should be put in place, insurance for students, incentives problem must be recognized. Student in the provinces are languishing. We want to see brilliant one that apply for the loan be given the opportunity”.
Chairman Parliamentary committee on Technical and Higher Education, Hon. Mohamed Lansana said the nominee should put certain system in place to see that the scheme be sustained. He said government should be able to find jobs for the students so that they repay their loans.
Hon. Dr. Sorie Unpha Koroma said the loan should not be selective in order to avoid discrimination, noting that the only way out is to tighten the registration process of all students at NCRA and work with NASSIT contributor to pay the loan for the benefits of Sierra Leoneans.
Hon. Bernardette W. Songa said the CEO should be cognizance of the political phone calls for recommendation for giving out the loan scheme.
She stated that the foundation in the educational sector should be improved and looked into as most student do not produce good output after graduation, which she said has been some of the main causes of acquiring fake degrees.
“A complete work over needs to be done, this scheme will not succeed if we cannot get capable students; we need to start somewhere that they will be employable, let start to make a change and we must start the cleaning process as a nation” she said.
Hon. PC Bai Kurr Kanagbaro Sanka III described the nation as perpetual borrower as the country have a lot at hand but nothing to show for it.
He questioned whether there was enough fund to support these students across the country, what would be done with the high inflation in the country?
He said students from big cities should benefit but cautioned that the need for the most qualified but from very poor families must be given the priority for the loan scheme and go to school.
He said Science, Technology, Mathematics and Engineering students should benefits from the scheme as they would be the most useful after university and have immediate jobs. He suggested that women must be given the priority to learn.
Hon. Emilia Loloh Tongi said they should make sure students have jobs after graduating especially those that are cable of creating self- made jobs that will bring back money to the scheme for sustainability sake.
Hon. Hassan Sesay commended the fact that the scheme is here as it will create more space for those that were unable to get the Sierra Leone grant -in Aid scheme.