ANNA Rugaimukamu (not her really name) arrived in Dar es Salaam on Saturday from Muleba district, Kagera region to join the University of Dar es Salaam in the new academic year that begins next Monday. The long journey took her two days to arrive in Dar es Salaam, because she had to spend one night in Bukoba town to enable her catch Mohamed Trans bus that normally leaves at dawn. I met Anna at the Ubungo bus station in Dar es Salaam where I had gone to receive a relative who was coming from Songea that particular evening. As I kept myself busy calling my kin to find out where he had reached, Anna approached me and asked me where she could catch a bus to Magomeni area, where she was going to her Mama Mdogo (A younger sister of her mother). After engaging ourselves in dialogue for a while I volunteered to drive her to Magomeni. I called the Mama Mdogo, to find out where her house was located and after she gave me the right direction I told her that in few minutes I would bring her visitor. She thanked me for the hospitality. As I continued to wait, my relative called and informed me that the bus he was travelling on had arrived at Mbezi area, but the traffic was so heavy that he could arrive at Ubungo a bit late. "Don't worry I shall wait for you." I told him. The waiting provided an opportunity for me to continue talking to this young girl Anna, who is 20 years old. "My daughter is also twenty years old" I told her. My interrogation with Anna made me discover that the girl was coming from a very poor family. She told me that both her parents are farmers who don't have money to pay for her education at the university level. "I have come to study Law at the University of Dar es Salaam but unfortunately I am in that list of students who did not get loan this year. This means I need about four million to enable me begin my studies in this particular academic year," She told me. To get the chance of studying Laws at the university of Dar es Salaam, Anna told me that she got division one (six points) in the advanced level national examinations which were held early this year. This girl had all the hopes that she was going to secure loan because until recently, the government was giving bursaries to all students that had performed well. Anna came to Dar es Salaam early, to enable her raise fees and accommodation expenses from the city based relatives and friends. "My father has already telephoned some of our relatives about this serious matter and I hope they will assist me," Anna told me. With tears lingering from her eyes, Anna sadly told me that her parents struggled tooth and nail to secure 60,000/- that she used as bus fare. Her mother prepared her some sweet potatoes and water that she consumed while on safari. Anna is in the group that Higher Education Students Loans Board (HESLB) calls ''List of students who did not secure loans due to Budget exhaustion''. Whatever that may mean, the implication is that had there been enough funds, the board would have extended loans to all eligible students. Anna told me that her parents live not very far from where the Muleba South Member of Parliament Mrs Anna Tibaijuka was born. "I am planning to see my name sake MP, to ask something from her that will add something to her university fee. To study law at the University of Dar es Salaam, Anna needs 1,500,000/- that is a one year fees. To be registered, she also have to pay 74,900/- as registration fee. Other requirements include accommodation and meals which is 1,852,000/-, books and stationary (200,000/-). In total, Anna should raise at least 3,700,000/- to enable her pursue first year studies at this prestigious university of Dar es Salaam. This means that for the five years that Anna will be pursuing her undergraduate degree studies at the University of Dar es Salaam, her parents should at least set aside a total of 18.5m/- before she graduates. I told Anna about what the University of Dar es Salaam announced recently, saying that all bona fide students should pay their share of tuition and other required fees as indicated before they report to the University as only those who pay the fees will be processed for registration and allowed to access accommodation and other university facilities and services. I told her, ''Students who will not have paid their fees should not report to the University until due fees are paid'', a statement that shocked her, praying that her relatives in Dar es Salaam struggle to raise the money as soon as possible, taking into consideration that there are only two weeks remaining before the registration window closes. Studies at the University of Dar es Salaam begin on 10th October 2011, to be preceded by an Orientation Week programme starting from 1st to 8th October 2011. According to Professor Yunus Mgaya who is Deputy Vice Chancellor – Administration, students are urged to pay the tuition fees in full by 29th September 2011. However, he says, those who will be unable to do so are allowed to pay for a single semester which is half of the tuition fee. He adds that students who will pay for the whole year will be issued with Identity Cards lasting for the whole year while those paying for a semester will have IDs lasting for a semester. Prof Mgaya warns that such students will need to pay for the new IDs that will be issued to them in the second semester, having complied with fees payment. "Students should note that payment per semester applies only to tuition fees as the direct university cost of TZS 74,900/- need to be paid up front for the whole academic year," He insists. These are challenges facing Anna and thousands of students joining both public and private universities in this academic year. "Can the Loans Board think of an alternative way to ease the burden from parents who have started selling family properties to enable their children join higher learning institutions for studies?" this is the question that Anna asked me as I was driving her to Magomeni. I had no immediate answer to give her but I simply told her that the government would always do the best to help its people, and this of loans to university students can as well be addressed by our president Jakaya Kikwete, who has done quite a lot in improving education since he became president six years ago. http://www.dailynews.co.tz/feature/?n=24012&cat=feature MY TAKE Hii nchi has gone to dogs, yaani huyu msichana ana div 1 point 6 amekosa loan! mke wa Ridhiwani amepata division ngapi vile?