Academic journal article CEU Political Science Journal

Access Denied? Examining the Loans Board Facility for Higher Learning Students in Tanzania

Academic journal article CEU Political Science Journal

Access Denied? Examining the Loans Board Facility for Higher Learning Students in Tanzania

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

Education is one of the basic human rights as provided for in the Second Generation Rights. It should therefore be accessed and enjoyed by everyone without discrimination; this is the essence of inclusive education. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) defines inclusive education as a process of addressing and responding to the diverse needs of all learners by increasing participation in learning and reducing exclusion within and from education. (62) In increasing participation various interventions might be applicable such as increasing the number of education providers and diversifying the financing of education through the private sector, students and /or their parents, government, and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). The main goal of inclusive education is to accentuate education for all with clear emphasis on elimination of barriers to participation by disadvantaged groups like the poor, women, and people with disabilities. The world conference on higher education that was held in 1998 at Paris recalled the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states in article 26 paragraph 1: "Everyone has the right to education" and that "higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit." The same conference endorsed the basic principles of the Convention against Discrimination in Education (1960), which by Article 4, commits member states to "make higher education equally accessible to all on the basis of individual capacity."

Since one of the ingredients of democracy is fair and equal treatment of everyone in a society (63) it was therefore hoped that any government which claims to be democratic should treat all individuals equally. In order to comply with the international instruments that safeguard and promote human rights in individual countries, the World Education Forum, held in Dakar, Senegal in 2000, reaffirmed education as a fundamental human right and underlined the importance of "Rights-Based Education" system where governments need to apply a rights-based approach to education in their policies, programming and planning processes. (64) A rights-based education requires knowledge of human rights standards where promotion and protection of such rights at national level is done by respective governments. This point was recapitulated by the Vienna Declaration of the World Conference on human rights (1993) where it was held that "human rights and fundamental freedoms are the birthright of all human beings; their protection and promotion is the first responsibility of the governments (65)."

In this context, then, this article examines the impact of the law and regulations with regard to accessing education in Tanzania. It argues that the Higher Education Student's Loans Board Act No. 9 of 2004 and its related regulations limit poor and needy students to access higher education. In executing the study, the relevant population of key stakeholders in higher education were involved. These included students, service providers, government and experts. The selected sample size was 232 people. It constituted 8 service providers out of 19 universities, (66) four being from public and the other four from private universities (67). The rationale behind this selection was that these universities had an operation of more than seven years, which is a reasonable period in order to have established links with the Loans Board. 30 people were purposely selected for this study to represent owners, management, and experts. Two (2) respondents were selected from the Ministry of Higher Education and the Loans Board. Moreover, a total number of 202 students were randomly selected through a stratified sample from each university. In soliciting data, the study utilized a number of techniques such as interviews, document analysis, and questionnaires. However, questionnaires were administered to students mostly and a guided interview through a face to face technique was administered to university owners, management, experts, and government people. …

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