Cancel debts of poor students

KUCHING: The Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) should cancel totally all the debts of students from the low-income group, said The Sarawak Initiatives (TSI).

The society, in a statement on Monday (Mar 8), applauded the Sarawak government’s move through Yayasan Sarawak on the student forgiveness plan to pay 30 percent of the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) student loans.

It pointed out that more could be done to help students from the lower income group who were struggling to repay their student loans and, at the same time, shoulder family financial responsibilities.

“Everyone has the right to education and financial assistance for deserving students must be assessed from the principle of equity and not equality. Forgiving student loans has been practised in many countries including the United States of America (USA) and United Kingdom (UK).

“A family is usually expected to shoulder many different loans but a family from the low-income group may not even be able to afford a home or vehicle.

“As home ownership programme is a top priority of our government for our people, forgiving student loans for the lower income group could help them own homes faster,” TSI said.

The society added that forgiving student loans would help the economy as families from the lower income group would have more disposable income to buy consumer more goods and services and thus help businesses.

“Implementing the student loan forgiveness policy will help narrow the income inequality gap that is widening in our country. The wealthy will pay for their education while students from the lower income group will be given financial assistance.