High Education Council (HEC) has failed to report or disclose students’ loans recoveries and unused balances of funds, according to the Auditor General (AG) of public resources.
These funds, according to the AG’s report, are supposed to be provided to Development Bank of Rwanda (BRD) that has an agreement with government to disburse or manage student loans and bursaries.
“As reported in previous audit report, the audit again noted that HEC did not disclose recoveries from students loans amounting to Frw7.7 billion collected as at 30 June 2019, and unused balance of student loans and bursaries of Frw3.4 billion,” the report says.
Specifically, the report explains that there is lack of detailed list of students to support paid tuition fees and living allowance of students studying abroad.
The agreement between BRD and the Ministry of Education (MINEDUC) relating to the management of student loans and bursaries requires MINEDUC to establish the list of loan and bursary beneficiaries studying abroad, according to the AG.
The amount payable for tuition fees then depends on invoices from higher learning institution where the student is enrolled, and travel fees allocated on a need basis.
Then, living expenses and research fees are disbursed as per cost structure approved by MINEDUC.
However, it was noted that HEC paid tuition fees and living allowance of over Frw5 billion for students studying abroad without lists of sponsored students for each payment.
According the AG, the list should indicate the level and period of study, tuition fees, living allowances, travel and research fees (if any). “Therefore, it is difficult to confirm the occurrence of this expenditure,” the AG report alleges.
In 2015, the government contracted BRD to manage student loans and bursaries.
According to the AG report, review of implementation of agreement HEC claims to have not receive required reports from BRD about the status of loans and bursaries disbursement, and loan recovery, performance reports including external audit reports.
As performance indicator, BRD is supposed to submit to MINEDUC quarterly reports not later than one month following the previous month on management of bursary and loans.
However, HEC continued blaming BRD for not receiving reports on loan and bursary disbursement and loan recovery for months from July to December 2018 and external audit reports from BRD to facilitate monitoring of the implementation student loans and bursaries scheme.
BRD CEO, Pitchete Kampeta, although new at the helm of the bank, told Taarifa that, “Adding BRD recoveries to their financial statements is to be addressed by HEC not BRD.”
Also, she said, despite the issues reported in the AG report, the good news is that, “we now use an integrated IT system which consolidates lists of higher learning institutions, HEC and BRD – so we now all have the same consolidated lists through a system called “Tiger Soft“.
Apparently, as per agreement between MINEDUC and BRD, reporting is now regular. “We sent the latest one last week for Q1-2020 (Jan-Mar 2020) officially to MINEDUC,” Kampeta says.
However, Monitoring and Evaluation by MINEDUC and HEC is pending, despite BRD insisting that it is “ready for them to “come and evaluate” the bank.
“Recovery targets have been adjusted after the MoU and BRD has met the revised targets now,” Kampeta added.