Students Loan Trust Fund is 10 years
Professor Jane Naana Opoku Agyemang, Minister of Education, said in recent times, the Ministry’s share of the annual budget had averaged 30 per cent, higher than UNESCO’s recommended 20 per cent.
That, she said, was a reflection of government’s commitment to issues of education as well as driving economic growth that was hinged on a solid foundation of developing the Ghanaian human capital.
Speaking at the press launch of the 10th anniversary celebration of the Students Loan Trust Fund (SLTF), the Minister said they were committed to addressing the range of issues that made it possible to deliver quality and inclusive education at all levels.
The anniversary, which falls on September 11, 2015, is under the theme: “Transforming Tertiary Education Financing in Ghana”.
Prof. Opoku Agyemang said social interventions like the students’ loan provided by the SLTF would continue to receive priority government funding because it ensured inclusiveness at the tertiary level.
“In 2005 the SLTF took over the responsibility of managing students’ loan from the SSNIT, a charge that placed big shoes at the feet of the Fund. The establishment of an autonomous organisation to be exclusively responsible for the management of issues related to students’ loan management has been worth it while,” she said.
Prof. Opoku Agyemang commended the Board and Management of the Fund for making progress in expanding the scope for guaranteeing a students’ loan beyond the SSNIT guarantor.
“I am pleased and grateful that institutional guarantors such as the district assemblies and religious organisations are actively collaborating with the Fund to support our students. I am informed that based on the collaboration between the SLTF and institutional guarantors in the past two years, access has been created for over 654 in the 2013/2014 academic year, up from 596 in 2013/2014 academic year,” she said.
Mr Andy O. Okrah, Board Chairman of SLTF, said since its inception in 2005 the Fund had supported over 80,000 Ghanaians to attain some form of post-secondary education in the country.
He said the Fund managers had put in measures to ensure that those in the repayment phase of the loan refunded all, especially those who found themselves in the informal sector or outside the country.
He said the theme would generate debate on finding innovative ways of sustaining the fund and pledged their support to lift up the Fund to achieve its fundamental goal.
Ms Shiella Naa Boamah, Chief Executive Officer of SLTF, said from its humble beginnings as a desk schedule in the Ministry of Education in 2005, the Fund currently had 98 campus offices, 14 zonal offices and a head office.
She said access to SSNIT guarantors, who had hitherto been the only form of guarantee, had become a challenge but as a learning organization, the SLTF had diversified the students’ loan guarantors and the SSNIT guarantee had also been modified from three to one SSNIT contributor.
“In addition, metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies, religious bodies, and corporate organisations are now eligible to guarantee the SLTF loan. It is gratifying to report that, upon intense engagements in the last two years with MMDAs and churches, MMDAs in seven regions of the 10 regions in Ghana have begun guaranteeing for students.
“The Sheik Nuhu Shaributu Education Trust Fund has guaranteed for over 1,000 Muslim students. We are also happy to report that so far 15 churches have put in place structures to guarantee for the student loan. In addition, we welcome the Zakat and Sadaqa Trust Fund on board to guarantee for Muslim students, beginning from the 2015/2016 academic year,” Ms Boamah said.