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Government Scraps Scholarship Interviews

Eswatini Daily News
30 September 2021

Minister of Labour and Social Security Honourable Phila Buthelezi has announced that Government will not hold scholarship interviews for students this year.

The Government of Eswatini has introduced an electronic evaluation process that will automatically select all eligible students for scholarships. The eligible students will then be required to bring some documents to support the application and thereafter sign a contract. The Ministry of Labour informed students that “the list of students selected through the Scholarship Loans Application System (SLAS) and provisionally awarded scholarships; will be issued before the registration dates in their respective tertiary institutions. Students are, therefore, implored not to panic as the process of issuing the lists is still ongoing.” Government has further assured awarded students that they will receive provisional award letters before commencement of the respective academic cycles.

In a statement issued by the Ministry of Labour early this year, they said Government received 4,421 scholarship applications to pursue different programs in 12 different tertiary institutions in the country. The Scholarship Selection Board would then interview all eligible students and this process would take months.

This announcement has come as a relief to most parents and students who found the interview process to be cumbersome. Make Mkhonta who has a child studying in South Africa said that “the interviews delayed the awarding of scholarships to the extent that my son in first year only received payment in the middle of the academic year. It is a good thing that Government has deleted the interviews.”

Eswatini offers a 50% grant and 50% loan on all student loans. According to government, the demand for Government scholarship loans has increased over the years, far exceeding the funds available for scholarships.  “This has put a strain on Government resources consequently resulting in the need for Government to more carefully target priority areas for the award of scholarships to students.” The collection process of the loan portion has been very poor. Government engaged the services of a private company to start collecting the loan so as to establish a revolving fund to sustain the scholarship program. Most countries in the region offer repayable student loans and private sector funded scholarships.

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