THE proposals to extend the repayment period and reduce the interest rate for National Higher Education Fund Corporation loans from 4% to 3% will encourage more students to further their studies, said the private education sector.
“We’re very pleased with these decisions as they will help the sector,” said Malaysian Association of Private Colleges and Universities secretary-general Dr Lee Fah Onn.
The move to extend loans under the fund to students pursuing twinning programmes abroad for their final year would enable more students to go overseas, he added.
National Association of Private Educational Institutions deputy president Elajsolan Mohan also welcomed the reduction in interest rate, saying it would “ease the students’ financial burden and hopefully encourage more to pursue higher education.”
However, he was disappointed that the private education sector did not receive more incentives.
“We had hoped for a reduction in the fees charged by the National Accreditation Board. It can cost up to RM10,000 to accredit one course and a reduction would have resulted in the savings being passed on to students,” he said.
The National Union of the Teaching Profession welcomed the additional child relief given to parents as well as the monthly RM25 allowance for every disabled child in primary or secondary school.
“This will definitely ease the burden of parents with school-going children in view of increasing costs. Also heartening is the consideration given to parents with disabled children,” said the union's secretary-general Datuk N. Siva Subramaniam.
Siva, who is also Cuepacs president, added that the flexible working hours proposed for civil servants with disabled children showed the government’s caring nature.
He also welcomed the RM637mil allocated for school computerisation projects.
“We hope the increase in funds will translate into a smooth implementation and effective execution of various projects, including the construction of computer laboratories,” he said.