HESLB said the move is meant to implement President John Magufuli’s directive that colleges and universities should reopen by early next month.
HESLB Executive Director Abdul-Razaq Badru said in a statement that the board has so far deposited 63.7bn/- in colleges and universities’ bank accounts for meals and accommodation.
He said that loan beneficiaries will receive the monies starting Thursday next week.
The issuance of loans (accommodation and meals) to students is part of routine disbursements to beneficiaries which are conducted four times in an academic year, he explained.
“When the government announced closure of schools and colleges mid-March, the board had already paid for the first and second quarter of the academic year. The payments were made in January 2020,” the statement indicated.
Apart from payments for food and accommodation for students, HESLB is also finalizing payments amounting to 59.1bn/- for students’ tuition fees paid to over 70 higher learning institutions.
“HESLB pays students tuition fee to universities in two phases per year. The fees are paid only after the board obtains approval on students registered in the specific college,” the director noted.
The monies are paid so as to capacitate institutions to afford operating costs of providing quality education to students, he said, assuring all universities which have submitted requests that they will be paid tuition fees by the end of next week.
In the 2019/20 fiscal year the government is providing a total of 450bn/- to 132,119 student beneficiaries in various universities.
“The amount covers accommodation, tuition fees, books, research, field practicals and special needs in some of the faculties,” he explained.
Speaking soon the swearing-in of Tanzania’s ambassadors to Kenya, Algeria and Mozambique as well as Health deputy minister Godwin Mollel at the Chamwino State House in the capital, President John Magufuli ordered the reopening of universities, colleges and high school classes effective June 1, as the number of Covid-19 cases maintains a declining trend.
Students will resume classes after staying home for more than two months since schools were closed on March 17th when the country recorded the first case of the novel coronavirus.
He directed the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology as well as the Higher Education Students’ Loans Board (HESLB) to make necessary preparations including issuance of loans, “which must be issued to students immediately after reopening the colleges.”
Dr Godwin Mollel, the newly appointed deputy minister was the eye catching appointee in the swearing in ceremony, with ambassadors going to represent Tanzania in different countries.
President Magufuli assured Tanzanians that the number of Covid-19 cases is declining, expressing optimism that this trend will be maintained.
“The wave of Covid-19 spread has dropped drastically. Considering that the situation is improving, we have decided to reopen colleges and universities by June 1,” he stated.
With Form Six students nearing final examinations, they should also go back to school on the same date, he emphasized.
He insisted that college students are mature enough to adhere to protocols of hygiene, social distancing, not shaking hands, wearing the face masks and protecting themselves from contracting the virus.
Dr Magufuli noted that primary and secondary school students should wait a little longer as the government monitors the status of the pandemic.
“I am happy that Tanzanians continue engaging in productive activities including farming,” he said, directing sports activities to also resume from June 1.
“Health specialists have proved that herd immunity improves when people are in contact. If you lock people inside houses, by the time you set them free their body immunity will have gone down by up to 30 percent,” he remarked.
The president also cautioned officials to be careful with donated Covid-19 protective gears. He said donations should be handed to the Ministry of Health so that they are checked before being distributed. Protective gears ought to be bought locally, he further noted.
He commended the Global Fund, an arm of the World Bank Group traditionally used to source funds for combating HIV/AIDS for supporting Tanzania financially in the fight against the spread of Covid-19.
Dr Magufuli said Tanzania will open aviation services including private, freight and passenger flights from Wednesday May 27th and Thursday 28th.
He said there are a good number of tourists who have already booked flights to come to the country.
Aircrafts will start landing on the specific dates and those coming will not be subjected to the 14-day quarantine as long as their body temperature is normal.