TERTIARY EDUCATION – GOVERNMENT GUARANTEED BANK LOANS (16/06/09)
(No. B/562) Mr J. C. Barbier (Third Member for GRNW & Port Louis West) asked the Minister of Education, Culture and Human Resources whether, in regard to the Government guaranteed bank loans for tertiary education, he will state the number of students who have benefitted therefrom, following the 2008-2009 budget.
POSTGRADUATES SCHOLARSHIPS – GRANT (21/07/09)
(No. B/908) Mrs F. Labelle (Third Member for Vacoas & Floreal) asked the Minister of Education, Culture and Human Resources whether, in regard to the postgraduates scholarships, he will state the number thereof –
(a) granted by the State for the academic year 2008-2009, indicating the fields of study;
(b) to be granted by the State for the academic year 2009- 2010, indicating the fields of study, and
(c) offered by the friendly countries for 2008-2009.
Dr. Bunwaree: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, the reply is as follows.
With regard to part (a) of the question, nine scholarships were awarded by my Ministry under the State of Mauritius Postgraduate Scholarships Scheme in 2008. I am tabling a list indicating the fields of study of the nine beneficiaries for Academic Year 2008/2009.
With regard to part (b), for Academic Year 2009/2010, nine scholarships under the scheme have been advertised by my Ministry on 26 June 2009. The closing date for submission of application is 14 August 2009. Hence, the fields of study will only be available after the selection exercise will have been completed.
As regards part (c), the number of postgraduate scholarships offered by friendly countries for 2008-2009, details are provided on the list being tabled.
GOVERNMENT GUARANTEED LOAN SCHEME - STUDENTS – MEDICAL COLLEGES – (20/10/09)
(No. B/1012) Mrs L. D. Dookun-Luchoomun (Third Member for La Caverne & Phoenix) asked the Minister of Education, Culture and Human Resources whether, in regard to the students, he will, for the benefit of the House, obtain from the Tertiary Education Commission, information as to if the Government Guaranteed Loan Scheme for students opting for tertiary education in Mauritius also applies to those seeking admission in the Medical Colleges operating in Mauritius.
Reply: The reply is in the affirmative.
The House may wish to be informed that the Government Guaranteed Student Loan Scheme is operated under the Human Resource, Knowledge and Arts Development (HRKAD) Fund of my Ministry and not by TEC. Since December 2008, the scheme is applicable to all students having secured admission in a Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) recognised local Post Secondary Educational Institution (including all TEC recognised Medical Colleges operating in Mauritius) and whose parents/spouse cannot provide any guarantee for the loans.
To date, only one student whose loan has been guaranteed by the HRKAD Fund is following MBBS programme at the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Medical College (SSRMC).
GOVERNMENT GUARANTEED STUDENT LOAN SCHEME
– NO. OF BENEFICIARIES (24/11/09)
(No. B/1219) Mr P. Jugnauth (First Member for Quartier Militaire & Moka) asked the Vice-Prime Minister, Minister of Finance and Economic Empowerment whether, in regard to the Government Guaranteed Student Loan Scheme, as announced in the 2008/2009 Budget Speech, he will state the number of students who have benefited therefrom as at to date.
The Minister of Education, Culture and Human Resources (Dr. V. Bunwaree): With your permission, Sir, I wish to reply to this question.
The House may wish to be informed that so far 29 students having secured admission in a local post secondary institution recognised by the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) have benefited from loans from commercial banks guaranteed by the Human Resource, Knowledge & Arts Development Fund (HRKAD) operated by my Ministry.
Nine other applications are in the pipeline and will be finalised by the end of this month.
Mr Jugnauth: Can the hon. Minister inform the House what are the conditions that are laid down for a student to benefit from that scheme?
Dr. Bunwaree: To be eligible for this loan, Mr Speaker, Sir, the loan scheme is aimed at Mauritian students, of course. The students should provide evidence that he or she and his or her parents/spouse cannot provide guarantee for the loan. The student should have secured a seat in a tertiary education commission recognised local post secondary education institution. The programme of study should not be less than the equivalent of one academic full year of study.
There is a fifth condition. The student should not have benefited from any scholarship, but I am looking into this also. In some cases, students can have benefited from a scholarship, but there need to be some topping up and they should be allowed to apply for the loan.
Mr Jugnauth: Would the hon. Minister agree that this scheme is, in fact, less favourable than the tertiary education support scheme that was introduced before and would he consider to improving the criteria, the conditions so that he can make it as favourable, if not more favourable?
Dr. Bunwaree: We are looking into further ways of trying to extend to all students, as the idea is to try to allow all students, who can go to university, to be able to pursue university studies.
Mr Bodha: May I ask the hon. Minister what is the sum which has been disbursed for that scheme in view of the fact that we have had 29 students who have been awarded?
Dr. Bunwaree: These loans are given by commercial banks, I am not aware.
SCHOOLS – STATE SCHOLARSHIP (13/07/10)
(No.1B/308) Mr S. Obeegadoo (Third Member for Curepipe & Midlands) asked the Minister of Tertiary Education, Science, Research and Technology whether, in regard to the existing State Scholarship for higher studies, he will state if Government proposes to bring changes thereto and, if so, will he give the details thereof.
Reply (The Minister of Education and Human Resources): As already announced in the Government Programme 2010-2015, Government intends to bring changes to the existing State Scholarship Scheme for higher studies in order to ensure greater equity and inclusiveness in the system. It is also envisaged to explore the possibility of awarding scholarships to a larger number of meritorious students.
In this context, my Ministry is setting up a Task Force to analyse the various possibilities and come up with recommendations for implementation.
TERTIARY STUDIES - SCHOLARSHIP SCHEME (30/11/10)
Mr S. Obeegadoo (Third Member for Curepipe and Midlands) asked the Minister of Tertiary Education, Science, Research and Technology whether, in regard to the Scholarship Scheme for tertiary studies, as announced in the Budget Speech 2011, he will state –
(a) if the scholarships for undergraduate studies locally will apply to any course in any institution;
(b) the modalities for a second scholarship for postgraduate studies;
(c) the criteria for the award of 24 proposed scholarships to students from families with modest income;
(d) if individual beneficiaries under any one scheme will be provided with the same financial allotment, and
(e) the mode of implementation of the new Scheme.
Reply The Minister of Education and Human Resources (Dr. V. Bunwaree): With regard to the State of Mauritius Scholarship whereby laureates will have the possibility to choose from different options available, that is, the current scheme or the new scheme, it is necessary to point out that the details, modalities and implementation of the new Scholarship Scheme announced in the Budget Speech are being worked out. As soon as the matter will be finalised, appropriate amendments will have to be brought to the Education Act and Education Regulations in consultation with State Law Office.
TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS – STUDENTS – FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE (22/05/12)
(No. B/142) Mrs L. D. Dookun-Luchoomun (Second Member for Quartier Militaire & Moka) asked the Minister of Education and Human Resources whether, in regard to the financial assistance granted by Government to students to enable them pursue higher studies in tertiary institutions, he will state the number of students who have availed themselves thereof, since 2009 to date, on a yearly basis.
SCHOLARSHIPS (ADDITIONAL) – AWARD (29/05/12)
(No. B/191) Mrs L. D. Dookun-Luchoomun (Second Member for Quartier Militaire & Moka) asked the Minister of Education and Human Resources whether, in regard to the Government decision to offer additional scholarships for tertiary education to students having passed their Higher School Certificate examinations, he will state the mechanism set up for the award thereof.
Dr. Bunwaree: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, in line with Government Programme 2010-2015 for greater equity and inclusiveness in the current scholarship schemes, Government agreed in November 2011 to the grant of scholarships to a larger number of students including meritorious and needy students. Consequently, the number of scholarships has been increased from 30 to 60.
The new Laureate Scheme will be applicable for students taking HSC Exams in 2012.
As regards to a new Bursary Scheme providing eight bursaries yearly which, in addition to the new scholarship scheme, has been introduced for the benefit of students of the lowest income families with monthly income not exceeding Rs5,000, they will be awarded this year to students who sat for exams in 2011.
The Ministry of Social Integration and Economic Empowerment has the responsibility to select the beneficiaries according to prescribed criteria. The process of selection is on and the names of eligible candidates are being awaited.
Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, the new Scholarship Schemes were made public by way of a press communiqué in the first week of March 2012. This review has entailed a lot of changes, details of which are set out in the Communiqué which has also been posted on the website of my Ministry. I would therefore, invite the hon. Member to visit our website.
In view of the length of the communiqué which fully details the mechanism for the award of the additional scholarships, Mr Speaker, Sir, I am circulating a copy thereof and, if there are further queries or enlightenment required, I will certainly reply to any further Parliamentary Questions, hon. Members may come forward with, after having gone through it in detail. Il y a six pages dans le communiqué
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: I have just heard the Minister saying that it will depend on the salary of the parents, the household income, the threshold being Rs5,000 for the bursaries. Would the hon. Minister be able to tell us whether there will also be criterion associated with the results of the students?
Dr. Bunwaree: Yes, Mr Deputy Speaker, not Rs5,000 for all, but for the bursaries only. In other cases, it will be Rs12,000. If you read the communiqué you will see. Of course, there are criterion also. I said meritorious and also social needs.
The Deputy Speaker: Time is over!
TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS – STUDENTS – ASSISTANCE (05/06/12)
(No. B/223) Mrs L. D. Dookun-Luchoomun (Second Member for Quartier Militaire & Moka) asked the Minister of Education and Human Resources whether, in regard to the financial assistance granted by Government to students to enable them pursue higher studies in tertiary institutions, he will state the number of students who have availed themselves thereof, since 2009 to date, on a yearly basis.
Dr. Bunwaree: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, the Human Resource Knowledge and Arts Development (HRKAD) Fund which was set up under the Finance and Audit (HRKAD Fund) Regulations 2008 provided for the setting up of a scholarship scheme for needy students having secured a seat in a local recognised Tertiary Education Institution.
The objective of the scheme was to award a fully funded scholarship up to a maximum of Rs150,000 per academic year covering tuition fees, examination fees, books and a monthly stipend - (Rs3,000 for local students and Rs8,000 for Rodriguans).
Students have to satisfy agreed eligibility criteria to benefit from the scholarship.
Since the year 2009 the number of students who were awarded such scholarships were as follows -
2012-to date 70
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, may I ask the hon. Minister what are the criteria for eligibility for these scholarships?
Dr. Bunwaree: If the hon. Member had included that question I would have answered, but I think I will circulate it because there is a long list of conditions.
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: May I ask the hon. Minister whether he is aware that one of the criteria for eligibility was that the child be an orphan and of either the father or the mother?
May I also ask the hon. Minister whether he would consider reviewing this particular criteria because this, in fact, causes a lot of difficulty for certain vulnerable students?
Dr. Bunwaree: In fact, it used to be like that in the past. I, myself, was very sensitive to the point that is being raised by the hon. Member. There are some other conditions that have been attached. I am not fully happy with all these because still some do not happen to be included, but we have to go according to the funds available as well. When the hon. Member has gone through the list of conditions, if she has any other proposal to make I will look into it.
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, may I ask the hon. Minister whether he is aware of certain students who do get the scholarship for a first year but, during that year, due to an increment to the parents’ salary - to the father’s salary or the mother’s salary - they no longer become eligible for the second year and some of the students have to drop their studies because they really cannot provide for the fees payable to the Universities?
Dr. Bunwaree: I have not come across such cases, but I will look into the matter if the cases are referred to me.
Dr. S. Boolell: In view of the limited period between acceptance in an institution and payment of fees, could the hon. Minister institute a fast track in several cases because the student does not know whether he is going to be granted a fee or not?
Dr. Bunwaree: I think the track is quite fast because I have not received representations as to the point that is being raised by the hon. Member. In fact, they are ongoing. We look into all these cases and I have not had any cases that have come to me to say that because of a length of time they have not been given the scholarship when they were eligible for same.
Dr. S. Boolell: How long does it take?
Dr. Bunwaree: It goes very quickly, in some cases it can take two or three weeks, in some cases it may take a bit more. But, we take care of the date of the resumption or start of studies.
Mrs Radegonde: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, I understood that the hon. Minister said that he has not come across such cases of students. I would say that in my constituency there are quite a few of them who fall behind the education system, who have to drop out. I remember myself sending one such case to hon. Dayal to look into the matter. I would like to ask the hon. Minister, because of this economic stress faced by rural communities if he will consider the advisability to extend this scheme to those low-income families with limited capital, social and economic resources.
Dr. Bunwaree: First of all, I would say that I did not want to say that. I did not come across, but rather the cases did not come up to me. I think what the hon. Member is raising as a problem is, maybe, the eligibility criteria have not been satisfied but there are other types of assistance that we do give. I replied only about the question of that type of scholarship because I think that is what the hon. Member was asking, but there are so many other ways and means to see to it that students who get a seat in a local university should be able to go through their studies and should not be deprived because of lack of finances or for social difficulties.
We liaise with our colleagues, the hon. Minister of Social Integration and even the hon. Minister of Finance, but if these cases are sent to me I will look into them one by one.
Mrs Labelle: Mr Deputy Speaker, Sir, may I ask the hon. Minister whether there is a coordination between his Ministry and that of the Social Security regarding orphans, because I know the case of a student, he is an orphan, no mother, no house nothing. He has been kicked out of a charitable institution. He is trying to have his studies and he is receiving only Rs1,500 per month, so, is there a coordination to help this type of student?
Dr. Bunwaree: There is a close collaboration with the Ministry of Social Security but, as I have said, in specific cases there could be some difficulties which we are not aware of. So, just send us the case.
Mr Ameer Meea: Can I ask the hon. Minister which Ministry approves and authorises as to who should be given financial assistance, which authority is it? Does it fall under the ambit of Ministry of Social Security, Ministry of Education or Ministry of Social Integration?
Dr. Bunwaree: In fact, I am replying to this question. It means that it falls under my Ministry.
Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun: May I ask the hon. Minister whether he could consider the case of students who have already been given the scholarship, and since the criterion - you have put it yourself - are very stringent, whether once the student gets the scholarship, if it is only because an increment to his parent’s salary, that this should not be a hurdle and that once the student gets the scholarship it should be for a period of three years, if it is increment to salaries only which is hindering the allocation of this scholarship?
Dr. Bunwaree: If there are minor changes we could understand but if the person becomes un millionaire d’un jour à l’autre - but I think there are some specific cases. This is what I have said to the hon. lady, just send me the case and I will look into them.
RODRIGUES - HUMAN RESOURCE KNOWLEDGE AND ARTS DEVELOPMENT FUND – SCHOLARSHIP (10/07/12)
(No. B/495) Mr J. F. François (Third Member for Rodrigues) asked the Minister of Education and Human Resources whether, in regard to the scholarship or Government guarantee under the schemes of the Human Resource Knowledge and Arts Development Fund, he will, for the benefit of the House, obtain from the Fund, for Rodrigues and under each scheme, since the setting up thereof to date, information as to the -
(a) number of applications;
(i) granted, and
(b) amount of funds disbursed;
(c) present number of beneficiaries thereof, and
(d) current difficulties, if any, faced by the applicants therefor, indicating the remedial measures taken in relation thereto.
Reply: The HRKAD Fund which was set up under the Finance and Audit (HRKAD Fund) Regulations 2008 provided for the setting up of a Scholarship Scheme and a Government Guarantee/Student Loan Scheme for needy students of the Republic of Mauritius having secured a seat in a local Tertiary Education Institution.
Under the Scholarship Scheme, eligible Rodriguan Students benefit from a fully funded scholarship of a maximum of Rs210,000 per academic year covering tuition fees, examination fees and books. This includes a monthly stipend of Rs8,000 as opposed to Rs3,000 for a Mauritian beneficiary.
Since the setting up of the Scheme to-date, a total number of 76 scholarships have been awarded to Rodriguan students under the HRKAD Fund and 44 applications have been rejected.
A total amount of Rs7,523,834 have been disbursed so far.
It is a fact that the procedures for approval take on average 3 months. This is due to the fact that applications are submitted to the Sub Committee on Tertiary Education for processing.
The latter scrutinises applications and examines whether it conforms with prescribed criteria. A social enquiry for each case to determine the household income is then carried out. Officers of the Ministry of the Social Security, National Solidarity and Reform Institutiions carry this exercise.
On receipt of the social enquiry report, the Subommittee on Tertiary Education recommends applications and submits to my Ministry for award of scholarship and disbursement of funds. Fees are paid directly to Tertiary Institutions while stipend is paid on a quarterly basis into the bank account of the student.
I have requested for streamlining of procedures to reduce the time taken for award of scholarships. The staffing of the scholarship secretariat will be reinforced.
As regard the Government Guaranteed Loan Scheme for period August 2008 to date a total number of 79 applications have been received, out of which, 67 have been provided bank guarantee, 10 have withdrawn and 2 have been rejected. Government has provided guarantee for a total amount of Rs17.1 m..
Procedures for approval of Government Guaranteed loans take on average 2 months.
Applications received at the secretariat are submitted to the Subcommittee on Tertiary Education for processing. The latter recommends government guarantees on students loans after ensuring that the applicants, their parents or spouses cannot provide guarantees for the student loans.
On receipt of the recommendations of the Subcommittee on Tertiary Education to my Ministry for the issue of bank guarantees, my Ministry informs the beneficiaries accordingly.
Bank guarantees are thereafter issued by my Ministry after the signing and registration of bonds by the beneficiaries. It is to be noted that no delays are encountered for the provision of government guarantee on student loans.