- Published on Wednesday, 27 March 2013 02:09
- Written by MOSES FERDINAND
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COST sharing in higher education isn’t a new policy in Tanzania. It has been in place since colonial times. Its implementation has evolved and taken different styles and directions.
Our correspondent MOSES FERDINAND of OUT held an interview with the Director of Communications of Higher Education Students’ Loans Board Mr Cosmas Mwaisobwa to find out more about cost sharing policy in higher education, where has it started from and why was it necessary to adopt such a policy?
QUESTION: In brief what do you mean by Higher Education?
ANSWER: The term ‘higher education’ embodies all organizing learning and training level leading to the award of higher diploma and or bachelor degree and above.
This includes conventional and non-conventional universities, specialized universities polytechnic and colleges. Higher education system is sub-divided into general higher education, traditionally offered in universities and technical education offered at non university higher education institutions.
Q: Can you shed light on the term Higher Education financing?
A: The term ‘financing higher education’ encompasses solicitation and application of financial resources to meet expenses of providing higher education. Sources of funds for higher education include the Government, Owners of institutions, private organizations and other stake holders.
Q: How is cost sharing in higher education implemented?
A: Cost sharing in higher education involves the shift of some costs from the government to other stakeholders or beneficiaries of higher education; it emphasizes the concept of partnership and cooperation in meeting the expenses of delivery of education. Cost sharing that includes a loan scheme is meant to improve access in higher education-where an access means availability and affordability of education services to more people.
Q: So, when did cost sharing in higher education start?
A: The current students’ loans scheme is not the first time that the country has attempted to recover education costs from beneficiary. The history goes back to colonial period. Prior to independence the colonial government established The Tanganyika Education Trust Fund in 1956.
This fund offered scholarships, bursaries and loan for higher education to students from poor families. The bursaries and Loans were recovered in full from post graduation salaries. This arrangement continued even after independence up to 1964when the National Service Scheme was introduced.
Between 1964-1974 students served in National Service for six months after which they guaranteed employment by the government where they worked and paid 40% of the normal pay for 18% months. The remaining 60% of the pay was contributed to the government as pay back of the bursary.
Q: What was the effect of the Musoma Resolution on cost sharing in higher education?
A: In 1974 when the ‘Musoma Resolution’ was introduced, tuition fees and government bursaries were abolished and instead the National Service duration was extended to 12 months. Higher education aspirants were required to work for at least 2 years before joining higher education.
Then they were required to work with the Government for 5 years on graduation before they could be released to work elsewhere. This was perceived as a way for repaying the cost of higher education .The government paid for Tuition fees, student union contribution, caution money and other expenses.
Q: How is cost sharing implemented nowadays?
A: In 1988 cost sharing policy was reintroduced. It was planned to be implemented in three phases. The first phase commenced in 1992 and students paid for application fees, transport cost (home-college-home), registration fee, caution money, and students union fees.
The second phase became effective in 1994/1995 when students were required to pay for the costs of meals and accommodation in addition to all costs mentioned in phase one. The government introduced a loan scheme to help needy students who borrowed money to meet costs of meals and accommodation at higher learning institutions.
The amount loaned is based on cost sharing policy and the financial ability of the central Government. The loan is meant to supplement parents and guardians efforts. The third phase came into force after enactment of Act No.9 of 2004 by the Parliament of the United Republic of Tanzania.
This Act established the Higher Education Students Loans Board. The main functions of the Board include: To put in place a system of identifying needy Tanzania Students that are eligible for loans- (Means testing). .Assist on loan basis, students who have been admitted in a accredited higher learning institutions, but who have no economic means to pay the costs of their education.
To keep record of loanees and amounts granted to them. .To collect repayments for all loans issued to students since 1994 so as to re-lend the funds to other needy Tanzanian students. .To maintain collaborations and a network with key stakeholders including higher education institutions, employers and loan beneficiaries.
To advise the Government on matters relating to issuance and recovery of loans. In the third phase needy students are given loans to cover accommodations, books and stationery, special faculty requirements, field practical training, research expenses and tuition fees.
Q: What have been the successes of this policy?
A: One of the successes of cost sharing policy in Tanzania is increased access to higher education. More higher learning institutions have been established and those higher learning institutions that were previously small have grown and expanded not only their intakes but also infrastructure.
In recognition of pivotal role of higher education in the country’s efforts to attain middle income status by 2025 the ministry of education and Vocational Training has prepared Higher Education Development Programme 2010-2014 as a road map to guide the development of higher education on issues among others linkage of higher education on the economy, Quality, and relevance, funding and expansion of higher education.
Q: What challenges are facing the implementation of the cost sharing policy?
A: Many Tanzanians still think that it is the duty of the Government to offer free education. Tanzanians have not fully embraced the cost sharing policy in higher education and therefore there is still some resistance, whereas cost sharing in health services, water and primary/secondary education seems to have been fully embraced.
Q: What advise do you have to Tanzanians with regards to cost sharing?
A: Tanzanians should accept cost sharing policy in higher education as it has been with other social services. The aim of the policy is to widen the scope of service so that many people can be reached. Through this policy, the Government will be able to concentrate on other crucial areas like infrastructure development and therefore creating a more conducive environment for learning.