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Address by Hon. Minister of Education – Prof. Jane Naana Opoku-Agyeman at Students Loan Trust Fund’s 10th Anniversary Pre-Launch

Deputy Ministers, Chief Director, Board Members of the Students Loan Trust Fund (SLTF), Management of SLTF, Friends of the media; Ladies and Gentlemen.

Good morning. It is gratifying to know that all too soon the Students Loan Trust Fund is ten (10) years since its inception. Equally worth noting is the fact that the Fund has done so much in these 10 years and is still striving to do even more. In the last 10 years the Students Loan Trust Fund has supported over 70, 000 tertiary students.

Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen; Since 2011, upon the passage of the SLTF Act, Act 820 (Act 2011) the Fund has initiated a lot of reforms aimed at increasing access and these commendable reforms are yielding tangible results. The fact that an applicant can complete an online application on his/her smart phone to accessing ones loan status by the click of a mouse, among others, are indeed commendable feat.

Earlier in the year, Mr. Chairman, the Fund increased the pay-points for its loan repayment and recovery functions, when it launched a partnership with GN Bank, increasing the number of pay-points by 108 and to over 360 nationwide. With coverage in every nook-and-cranny of the country, beneficiaries who are due would have no excuse not to repay their loans to sustain the Fund for generations yet unborn.

I am aware of the effort by SLTF to get loan beneficiaries leaving our shores to meet their repayment obligations, through your posters at all our airports. The next option to explore, to ensure that adequate information gets to beneficiaries domicile abroad is for the Fund to initiate discussions with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration (MoFARI) to fashion out a way of tracing beneficiaries at passport offices, and using the Ghanaian Missions/Embassies worldwide as conduits for tracing beneficiaries in the Diaspora. In addition, the list of defaulters posted on the SLTF website should be shared with the MoFARI for circulation to all Ghanaian missions & embassies to enhance repayment.

Mr. Chairman, around the world the students’ loan has been the panacea to attaining tertiary education. The relevance and significance of students’ loan in other jurisdictions is a result of private sector participation in tertiary education financing. In Ghana, however, the student loan scheme is funded solely by the Government of Ghana – showing that the state pre-finances the cost of tertiary education to the beneficiary under a cost sharing regime which has been in existence (in principle) for nearly three decades. This cannot be sustainable going forward, because government cannot keep its part of the bargain and also take up the financial obligation of the other social partner alone. I am therefore, using this platform to encourage the Private Sector to support education through institutions of state such as the Students Loan Trust Fund.

Mr. Chairman, it is in light of the above that the theme of the SLTF 10th Anniversary, “Transforming Tertiary Education Financing in Ghana” comes in handy, and stakeholders in deliberations pertaining to this theme, should do the necessary brainstorming and come out with proposals that will obviate the dilemma of tertiary education financing in the country.

Mr. Chairman Distinguished ladies and Gentlemen, Friends from the media, the Ministry has noted with satisfaction the positive developments in the Students Loan front, which have not surprisingly culminated in the numerous recognitions of the CEO from the tertiary students of Ghana.

On behalf of the Ministry, I congratulate the Board and Management of the Fund for the effective an efficient management of the Fund and spur you on to greater achievements in the coming years, and also wish you a fruitful anniversary.

Thank you.

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