50 percent bursary repayment scrapped for aspiring postgrads

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By Maleshoane Lebelo

Students aspiring to go for their post-graduate studies can now enroll in universities without having to worry about paying 50 percent of their undergraduate bursaries with the national manpower development secretariat.

For years decades, aspiring post-graduate students failed to make it due to the hurdle of having to repay 50 percent of their undergraduate studies that is split into 25 percent lumpsum repayment and a 25 percent installments repayment.

Yesterday, Minister of development and planning Selibe Mochoboroane announced a change in government policy on the recollection of NMDS debts from bursaries beneficiaries.

He said, “we will suspend this policy that requires students to repay 50 percent loan repayment into the Loan Bursary Fund before they are awarded another scholarship to further their studies”.

Mochoboroane said Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro led government believes this suspension of repayment of the 50 percent of loan bursaries will enable students in financial need to undertake postgraduate studies in priority skills determined by academic merit, the country’s national strategic development plan (NSDP) II priority areas of study and quota allocated thereof.

The Minister said the objective of suspending 50 percent repayments of loan bursaries is to enable ease of access to bursaries to Basotho in financial need.

He said Majoro’s government believes this initiative will enable Basotho to improve their education from unemployable bachelors’ degrees to acquiring postgraduate skills.

Many Basotho students have pursued mismatching degrees to the labor market demands and this has worsened unemployment, which he said currently stands at 22.5 percent and has hiked poverty level to 49.7 percent.

The suspension of the 50 percent repayment requirement, Mochoboroane said can only be afforded under a rationalized approach.

He said it is important to provide assistance to students with absolute financial need intending to pursue studies identified as priorities in the NSDP.

Mochoboroane said in the past, students were only allowed to further their studies once they have paid 50 percent of their loan bursary.

But now, he said government hopes that with renewed and strengthened skills, youths will be able to actively participate in the economy in pursuit of economic and institutional transformation for private sector-led jobs and inclusive growth.

Mochoboroane appealed to the youth to take this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to develop their skills and capacity for the betterment of Lesotho.