Tech glitch hold students’ funds

Tuesday February 11 2020

student

Since taking over, the Development Bank of Rwanda (BRD) has disbursed Rwf106 billion to 28,000 students currently enrolled in institutions of higher learning either abroad or locally. PHOTO | CYRIL NDEGEYA 

ARAFAT MUGABO
By ARAFAT MUGABO
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Failure to submit and comply with the required documentations by the University, Higher Education Council (HEC) has contributed to delays in the disbursement of stipends to government-sponsored students.

However, students say that the main challenge that hinders them from signing of contracts with Development Bank of Rwanda (BRD) or make applications for the funds is a poor online registration systems.

According to the BRD, it receives the money for each academic year from the government on time but some students fail to comply with requirements, leading to delays.

For instance, for fresh students or continuing students to be given the living allowances, they must apply on time in their respective colleges at the University of Rwanda (UR) or Rwanda Polytechnic (RP) every year, according to BRD.

The continuing students only register with the university, which communicates to the bank to disburse the allowances.

 In addition, new students are required to sign a loan contract with BRD for the stipend because some students are only entitled to tuition fee only.

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The University of Rwanda is then required to share details of admitted students with BRD before the funds are disbursed.

Claudine Matata, head of Education financing portfolio at BRD said even registration and signing of contracts, students make errors such as wrong their email addresses and changing bank accounts without informing the bank. “When our data contradict the bank's data, the money gets stuck in banks hence causing the delays for them to receive the allowances on time,” said Ms Matata.

"Students often complain but delays are caused by those who don't sign loan contracts on time and reckless errors during registration," Ms Matata said.

“We cannot just give out money to students because they have been selected by the HEC or admitted at the university, they have to first sign an agreement with the bank,” said Francis Ndoli Karake, head of education disbursement portfolio at BRD.

He said there are cases where students are admitted at the university and fail to sign the agreement with the loan-issuing bank yet it is one of the requirements before this money,” said Mr Karake.

“This is a loan it’s not money for free, so without signing a contract with the bank and register on time automatically means that either the student changed his/her mind to take the loan or shifted to another school,” he said. “We may be having our issues in the institution that could hold up the allowance for instance, when the website is not performing well which could slow signing agreements but it happens at a low percentage,” he added.

He noted that there are also some banks that do not immediately return the money to BRD accounts when it is deposited on a different account that doesn’t much with the details of the student.

However, students say that the main challenge that hinders them from signing an online contract with BRD or apply for the academic year at the university is a poor online registration system for both institutions.

“When one happens to get a chance and successfully apply at the university, one is likely to encounter difficulties while signing the contract online,” said Christella Uwicyeza, a fourthyear student at the University of Rwanda’s College of Business and Economics.

“We believe there is student especially those in the first year who are not familiar with the online system that may delay in fulfilling the requirements, but still allowance delays even when we have provided all necessary information correctly,” said Ms Uwicyeza.

Winnie Ntayombya another student in year one at the University of Rwanda said they suffer to fulfill the requirements since they only rely on cyber café technicians for registration and signing the contract.

“We need the University and the bank to have its employees to always be there to support students who are not familiar with the processes,” said Ms Ntayombya.

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