The Public Appointments Committee of Parliament has interviewed and approved the appointments of members of the Higher Education Loans and Grants Board set to bring sanity to the management of student loans in public and accredited private universities.
The seven-member board comprises professionals with backgrounds in higher education, finance and law as provided for in the Higher Education Student Loans Act of 2015.
Committee chairperson Lingson Belekanyama confirmed in an interview yesterday that six members of the board were interviewed last week and results have been submitted to the appointing authority to communicate to the successful members.
The committee scrutinised the shortlisted board members’ qualifications, gender but also place of origin to ensure regional balance which was a requirement Parliament put in place when the bill was passed earlier this year.
The members interviewed included retired University of Malawi registrar Geoffrey Chipungu who will chair the board, architect Bernard Zingano, academic Jean Chikumbanje, lawyer Videlia Chibisa Mluwira, lawyer Patrice Nkhono and accountant Dorothy Ngwira. Marketer Khwesi Msusa was not available for interviews as he was abroad.
The board will be responsible for setting criteria and assessment of students seeking loans and grants towards their studies.
In the past, Malawians have benefitted from loan schemes in public universities, but the repayment has been poor due to lack of a legally established entity to recover the loans.