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student Loan scheme postponed indefinitely – federal government

Student Loan: President Tinubu Appoints Management Team for National Education Loan Fund
Student Loan: President Tinubu Appoints Management Team for National Education Loan Fund

The Federal Government has announced the indefinite postponement of the much-anticipated Nigerian Students Loan Scheme, throwing into disarray the hopes and aspirations of thousands of Nigerian students and vocational trainees. The announcement came from the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Education Loan Fund, Akintunde Sawyer, during an interview with Arise News on Tuesday, sending shockwaves across the educational landscape.

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Student Loan Scheme Postponed Indefinitely - Federal Government 7

The Nigerian Students Loan Scheme, heralded as a groundbreaking initiative to provide interest-free loans to Nigerian students pursuing higher education and vocational skills development, had been eagerly anticipated since its inception. President Bola Tinubu had signed a bill to establish the scheme in June 2023, with lofty expectations for its implementation. Sponsored by the immediate-past Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, the bill was slated to commence between September and October 2023.

However, delays plagued the program’s rollout, prompting President Tinubu to push back the launch to January 2024 after missing the initial October deadline. Despite assurances from Minister of State for Education, Yusuf Sununu, in January that preparations for the scheme were finalized, including the establishment of the Student Loan Scheme website and detailed planning, the anticipated launch failed to materialize.

Recent indications from President Tinubu to leaders of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) suggested that the program’s commencement was imminent, with additional features such as vocational studies being considered. However, barely 48 hours before the scheduled launch, Sawyer dropped the bombshell, citing unspecified corrections that needed to be addressed before the scheme could be rolled out.

“Unfortunately, I won’t be able to commit to a specific date. We are sort of waiting to ensure that all the stakeholders are aligned to make sure that nobody is blindsided, then we can actually roll this out in a meaningful, comprehensive, wholesome, and sustainable way,” Sawyer stated during the interview, leaving many stakeholders disillusioned and frustrated.

The postponement of the Nigerian Students Loan Scheme has sparked widespread condemnation and raised questions about the government’s commitment to addressing the challenges facing Nigerian students and vocational trainees. With education and vocational training increasingly out of reach for many due to financial constraints, the loan scheme was seen as a beacon of hope for thousands of aspiring students across the country.

In light of this setback, calls for transparency and accountability in the management of educational initiatives have intensified, with critics urging the government to provide clear timelines and actionable plans for the scheme’s implementation. Concerns have also been raised about the potential impact of the delay on students’ academic pursuits and vocational training aspirations, underscoring the urgent need for swift action to address the underlying issues.

As stakeholders await further updates on the Nigerian Students Loan Scheme, the government faces mounting pressure to expedite the necessary corrections and ensure a seamless rollout of the program. The fate of thousands of Nigerian students and vocational trainees hangs in the balance, with their hopes for a brighter future contingent on the successful implementation of the loan scheme.

This Article is Fact-Checked. See Policy.
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