The Governor of Bayelsa State, the Honourable Henry Seriake Dickson has signed into law, the Bill establishing the Bayelsa State Students Tertiary Education Loan Board.
Dickson said that the board specially designed to provide unfettered access to tertiary education in the state would be inaugurated in the next two weeks.
A statement by his Special Adviser on Media Relations, Mr. Fidelis Soriwei, quoted the governor as having said that a percentage of the state’s monthly internally generated revenue would be committed by law to fund the board.
The governor explained that funding of the new board would be similar to the Bayelsa State Education Development Trust Funds which was established by law to guarantee the arrangement for free education at the primary and secondary school levels in the state.
Dickson said that the new board was being established with a consciousness to ensure that no Bayelsa youth with the requisite qualification and intent for university or tertiary education was deprived access to such schools because lack of funds.
“We have also taken care of the issue of access in another way that i have not heard done in any state in this country. Your government has also established the Bayelsa State Student Tertiary Education Loan Board Law. I have signed that bill into law, and in the next one or two weeks I will be setting up that board.
“And just as we dedicated 5% of the internally generated revenue of our state to the Education Development Trust Fund, the Government of Bayelsa State will also every month, allocate some amount of money that I will announce shortly to the funding of the Student loan Board.
“The whole idea is that we don’t want any Bayelsa youth, boy or girl, whatever your background may be, whatever your circumstances in life maybe, (once you have the basic qualifications that will enable you to gain admission into university, either in the UAT or in our state-owned premiere Niger Delta University or any other university in Nigeria) to be left behind.”
“As a responsible government, because we know all fingers are not equal and we do not want any child to be left behind, we are establishing the Students Loan Board. The loan that the board will give will be paid directly to the universities.”
On the arrangement for the repayment of the loan, the Governor said that beneficiaries of the loan would be required to repay within 10 to 20 year of graduation after they commence work.
Dickson added that the board which would be empowered to formulate its policies would pay for the cost of university education especially school fees.
“The board will formulate its rules and the board will pay for the university education cost particularly with regard to tuition fees. I expect the university to cooperate with the board so that when the students graduate, when they begin to work, they can repay within 10 to 20 years without feeling it. That is the standard across the world.” He added