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Set up database to ensure Hesbl money is paid back

Friday July 15 2016
pic hesbl

The Higher Education Students’ Loans Board (HESLB) has given over 2,700 students a seven-day ultimatum to verify their identities and other vital information; in an effort to weed out ‘‘ghost’’ and undeserving students. We strongly feel it is about time a central systematic management of data was put into place.

There is a need for a system with which the Board can easily access so as to, say, confirm national examination results, registration of births and any other vital information before issuance of loans.

This database ought to be well managed and regularly updated to facilitate faster and more efficient loans recovery.

Lack of such a database forces HESLB to resort to crude cat and mouse tactics in its hunt for loan repayment dodgers. This leads to hitches that inconvenience the innocent who are keen on paying, or those who urgently need loans for studies abroad.

A fresh plan that incorporates beneficiaries, employers, implemented in collaboration with the Education ministry and the Immigration Department.

A better managed database would also check irregularities in the release of loans. At the same time, it would reduce irregular payments and delays in issuing cash to deserving students.

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We live in the digital age and with application of the right technology, a proper loans managing system can be easily established.

The HESLB has been operational since July 2005 with the objective of enabling needy students to secure admission in accredited higher learning institutions. Which is to say, it must not lose focus. In the 2014/15 academic year, HESLB issued Sh345 billion in loans to 98,000 students and Sh459 billion to 122,486 students.

We want more young, brilliant Tanzanians, irrespective of anyone family circumstances, to access the highest level of education the world can offer. This means, those who owe HESLB must pay, so as to boost board’s capacity to support fresh applicants.

TARGET PSYCHE OF DRIVERS

An incident involving the death of 67-year-old cyclist in Butiama who was hit by a lorry is a reminder to the plight of “small” road users. We aren’t being judgemental here; we are simply citing the incident as we mull over the precarious situation of pedestrians and other non-motorised road users in Tanzania.

In Western countries, cycling to work is vogue, even to middleclass individuals who are aware of its health benefits. However, cycling in any of the busy and even the not-so-busy roads of Dar es Salaam is—let us be blunt about it—suicidal!

The number of vehicles in Dar es Salaam is not in any way higher that of vehicles in say, Amsterdam, London, Paris or Japan, yet in all these, the number of cyclists is much higher, yet they cyclists there are much safer. In most of our cities, those in cars, buses and bajajs tend to view cyclists and pedestrians as nuisances. A few years ago, a young MCL journalist was killed by a pick-up truck which knocked her as she strode on a road reserve road-cum pedestrian walk!

We believe more effort is required in psychological training of our drivers that adherence to traffic regulations and respect for fellow road users are more important than expertise in the mechanics of driving.