The ministry of higher education has said it would allow students to resubmit their loan applications following a furore over the number of students failing to qualify for an award.
In a statement released on Monday, the higher education ministry said disqualified students could reapply for the remaining 163 loan slots.
“The most important aim of this government is to give out student loans to as many applicants as possible,” the statement said, adding that disqualified students could edit their submissions through the application portal.
Just 79 students out of 993 who applied for a loan (eight percent) were successful. A total of 242 loans were up for grabs, meaning just 33 percent of available loans were awarded to students.
Ruling Maldivian Democratic Party lawmakers met with officials from the ministry of higher education yesterday amid growing public outrage over the number of failed student loan applications this year.
Higher Education Minister Dr Ibrahim Hassan said the vast majority of the unsuccessful applications were rejected because the forms were either incorrectly filled in or because they did not meet the loan requirements.
Some 271 applications were rejected because students had failed to submit copies of both sides of their education certificates. Another 192 students were disqualified because they were intending to study in countries not permitted under the loan scheme, while another 106 students were unsuccessful because the courses they wanted to take were available here in the Maldives.
The ministry did not say why it had accepted so many incomplete applications in the first place.
“The ministry will inform applicants about the reason for disqualification,” Hassan said in a Tweet, adding that the new loan scheme would be launched on June 20.
A 21-year old woman who applied to study mass communications told the Maldives Independent that after spending all day trying to reach the ministry, she was finally told that her application was rejected because she had not uploaded copies of both sides of her education certificates.
“They said that I didn’t attach both sides of my certificates, while it can still be seen from the application in the portal that everything had both sides attached. I informed them of this and they asked me to email. I told them that I’m still waiting for the response to an email I sent about four days back regarding the same matter, and they said I will have to wait to get an answer [this] week,” the woman from Addu City said.
Earlier, MDP MP Mickail Naseem said the ruling party had called on the higher education ministry to allow unsuccessful students to reapply for a loan.
MDP MPs meeting with Minister of Higher Education to share concerns re: loan scheme.
– Students should be notified/have opportunity to appeal before deadline if disqualified.
– Portal error should not lead to disqualification.
– Loan scheme be made more inclusive. pic.twitter.com/LeSW8UBfdG
— Mickail Naseem 🎈 (@MickailNaseem) June 9, 2019
Additional reporting by Mohamed Junayd