Loan board set to ‘name and shame’ student loan defaulters

The Higher Education Students’ Loans and Grants Board (HESLGB) says it will publish names of all graduates of University of Malawi (UNIMA) and other public universities who are yet to pay back student loans to the board.

In announcing the apparent ‘shaming’ scheme, executive director for the board, Chris Chisoni said they have exercised enough patience on the defaulting graduates and it is now time for the general public to know them.

Chisoni who revealed that the board is doing final touches on the list to be published and broadcasted on both print and electronic media, further bemoaned the tendency of defaulting loan repayment by beneficiaries to the board.

He said the tendency is paralyzing the operations of the board and deprives other beneficiaries from accessing the same in a country that has other needy deserving students.

However, some graduates who benefited from the loan have attributed their late repayment of the loans to high unemployment levels in the country.

“It’s not that we do not want to repay the loan. We understand, it’s a revolving fund and our little brothers and sisters need to benefit from the same as well. But where are we going to get the money?” Wondered one of the graduates who asked to remain anonymous.

“Since I graduated 10 years ago,” added another graduate. “I’ve never landed any tangible job that would have financed my repayment of the loan. I live a dog’s life.”

The graduates have further questioned the ‘name to shame’ scheme by the board, wondering as to how that would help in compelling them to pay back their loans.

“The thing is. We don’t have money to repay whether our names get published or not. Our country is not favourable and conducive. We’ve no jobs. Our economy can’t support any business. We’re doomed,” fumed another graduate.

The higher education student’s loan board was mandated by the Parliament of Malawi to be offering soft academic loans to ‘needy deserving students’ in the country in a bid to assist students who come from families that cannot afford tertiary tuition.

Meanwhile, some education advocates in the country have asked the board to stretch grace period for the ‘shaming’ scheme citing that the coronavirus pandemic among them has also affected many graduates

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