Government under the Higher Education Students Financing Board (HESFB) has opened up the Students’ Loan Scheme to students pursuing tourism and hospitality courses with effect from the 2022/2023 Academic Year.
“At the 30th meeting of the Higher Education Students’ Financing Board (HESFB) that sat on 31st March 2022, tourism and hospitality programmes were approved by the board to be supported under the Students’ Loan Scheme,” Michael O. Wanyama, the Executive Director of HESFB said.
At the same meeting, the Uganda hotel and tourism training institute, Jinja was approved to participate in the scheme.
The tourism and hospitality sector has been identified by the successive National Development plans including the current NDP3 and Vision 2040, as one of the fundamental pillars of Uganda’s economy and key growth drivers with the greatest multiplier effect. In the pre-pandemic season, the sector growth had hit as much as 7.3 per cent of GDP and 6.3 per cent of total employment.
Since inception, the board has been supporting mainly science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programmes, except for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) who can undertake any programme of their choice under affirmative action. These include 3,606 Health and Medical professionals, over 3,600 in engineering and technology, 2,252 in science education, over 1000 in agriculture and over 2000 in other natural sciences.
The board has also been offering other humanities programmes targeting PWDs including Bachelors of Speech and Language Therapy, Bachelors of Education (Special Needs Education) and Bachelors of Teachers Education with Special Needs under affirmative action.
“We hope that with the support to training in the Tourism and Hospitality sector, Uganda as a country will be able to achieve the target contribution of tourism to total employment from 667,600 to 1,100,000 people as anticipated by the NDP3,” Wanyama explained.
“Following this release, Tourism and Hospitality programmes will be among the listed programmes in the oncoming call for Loan Applications to the AY2022/23.”
HESFB was established in February 2014 by an Act of Parliament HESFB Act No. 2 of 2014, with a mandate to provide Loans and Scholarships to Ugandan students to pursue Higher Education.
The board is intended to provide loans and scholarships to Ugandan students who have qualified to pursue accredited courses of study or programmes in the recognized Higher Education Institutions in Uganda but are unable to support themselves financially. HESFB implements the Students Loan Scheme.