The Students Loan Scheme commencement which was earlier slated for January 2024 has been reaffirmed by the federal government. Yusuf Sununu, the Minister of State for Education, provided this confirmation during a press briefing following a Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting led by President Bola Tinubu at the State House in Abuja. He stated that everything is prepared for the scheme to commence, as the Student Loan Schemes website has been finished and technical plans have been finalized to enable the scheme’s initiation.
Sununu emphasized that the Student loan scheme in Nigeria would receive sufficient financial support through the 2024 Appropriation Act and the Supplementary Budget for 2023. He reiterated that the commencement of the scheme in January is firmly set, with significant progress already made on developing the website. Online applications will be available for beneficiaries, with the admission criteria specifying only Nigerian students in public schools. The online application process will ensure timely processing, guaranteeing access to the loan within a span of 30 days.
Applicants will be able to apply and get verified online.
As part of the process, the scheme is taking steps to create a seamless process that eliminates any interaction between loan administrators and beneficiaries. Applicants will have the convenience of applying and getting verified online, with their eligibility being determined by the supporting documents and credentials they provide. The primary objective of this scheme is to establish a fair and inclusive system that grants equal access to eligible applicants, without any prejudice based on factors such as gender, religion, tribe, social standing, or disabilities.
Government officials are of the opinion that this scheme will provide underprivileged students with the opportunity to secure federal government loans for funding their higher education, similar to the model in the United States and other advanced nations. By implementing this scheme, the occurrence of student suicides resulting from depression upon dropping out of school will be significantly curtailed. Additionally, the prevalence of female students engaging in vices as a means to finance their fees will diminish or completely vanish, as the elimination of financial pressure will eliminate the need for such actions.
Second school graduates are aspiring for tertiary institutions.
Additionally, the Minister revealed that the Ministry of Education submitted a memorandum to the council, which was jointly prepared by the ministry and the National Universities Commission. This memorandum outlines the guidelines for effectively executing transnational education programs within Nigeria. He elucidated that the program would grant international educational institutions the room to establish a presence in Nigeria, hire local professionals, enroll Nigerian students, and alleviate the burden on the country’s current higher education establishments.
He pointed out the reason for this, highlighting Nigeria’s membership in the World Trade Organisation, which dates back to 1995, and its signing of the General Agreement of Trade in Services in the same year to support his argument. These trade services, he said, encompass educational resources that can be shared beyond national boundaries. The evident outcome of President Tinubu’s endeavors in expanding educational accessibility can be seen in the growing influx of graduates and secondary school graduates aspiring to further their education at our tertiary institutions.
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Furthermore, the matter of placement has gained significant attention, leading the ministry to develop a policy for transnational education. This innovative approach allows for the exchange of valuable ideas and facilitates progressive education beyond national borders, according to the Minister. The documents outline a framework that enables foreign institutions to partner with local institutions or even establish their own campuses within the country. From an economic standpoint, engaging in transnational education would alleviate the strain on the naira in its dealings with the dollar.