Tuesday 2019-09-17

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GOVT DOUBLES ALLOWANCES

By Sifiso Nhlabatsi | 2019-09-11

Following the outcry by university students over the E800 personal allowance per month, government has since resolved to raise the amount to E1 690 per month.

Tertiary students from universities and colleges raised their concerns over the amount proposed by government, as they insisted that it was too little and was not enough to cover their day-to-day expenses.

The outcry led to the closure of all tertiary institutions in the country, as the students resolved to embark on strike actions which subsequently led to vandalism of property at the UNESWA Kwaluseni Campus.

Government has advised students to reciprocate this gesture by taking education seriously and commit to raising concerns with due regard to laid down procedures and avoid resorting to vandalism, disregard of law and order.

In a statement issued by Ministry of Labour and Social Security PS Thulani Mkhaliphi government warned students against taking irresponsible decisions by boycotting classes, which results in losing time on the minimum contact hours they are supposed to have with lecturers to retain credibility of their training and certificates they will hold on completion of their studies.

He revealed that this current year government supported about 13 000 students through the Students Study Loan Scheme, and this included about 11 900 students studying in local universities and colleges with the rest in international universities.

Mkhaliphi mentioned that the direct expenditure that went to students study loans support in respect of tuition and student’s assistance finance was E434 million per academic year and this figure excluded support channelled through subventions to the institutions.

“This is by no means a small amount of money that can be disbursed at once neither by any other big chunks. It is in this regard that government has decided to disburse students study loan support in manageable chunks to institutions and students respectively,” said Mkhaliphi.

He said the public, parents, students and institutions were therefore informed  that students study loan support in respect of tuition fees would paid directly to the respective government supported institutions. Students study loan support in respect of allowances for staying on campus lodging facilities would be paid as per invoice to the respective institutions.

The PS also mentioned that students study loan support in respect of allowances for students staying off campus would be paid directly to the respective student’s bank accounts or any of the official money transfer platforms.

He added that students’ upkeep allowances would be disbursed in 30 days regular cycles over 10 months from the beginning of the academic year and such allowances shall be paid to students who have been duly registered as such by the respective institutions.

Mkhaliphi mentioned that students upkeep allowances shall be computed as follows: on campus students upkeep allowances shall be paid to the institutions and these shall be in respect of accommodation, meals and personal allowance.

Off campus students shall be paid personal allowances amounting to E1 690 per student per month to cover accommodation, food, transport and personal allowances.

He further said all government sponsored students were required to sign an addendum to the Student Study Loan award accepting these allowances and the disbursement method.

Students should note that the study loan award agreements were individual and that government reserves the right to review the agreement if the student was deemed to be directly or indirectly disregarding or disrespecting the loan agreement.

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