The loan is interest free
The University Grants Commission (UGC) has decided to provide interest-free loans to indigent students of public universities for purchase of smartphones to ensure their participation in online educational activities amid the coronavirus pandemic.
As many as 41,501 underprivileged students of 39 public universities will be given a maximum of Tk8,000 per person for this purpose.
This money will be allocated to the revised budget of the sector concerned as advance against the annual allocation of the university for the fiscal year 2020-2021.
The final decision regarding the loans was taken at a meeting chaired by UGC Chairman Dr Kazi Shahidullah on Wednesday.
At the meeting, the UGC chairman said through this initiative, indigent students would be able to meet an important need in present times.
“It will play a positive role in the online education activities of public universities. It will also make students more focused on online learning,” he said.
Dr Shahidullah urged the vice chancellors concerned to take necessary steps to disburse the loan among the needy students.
In the light of the recommendation of the ‘Softloan Approval Committee’ constituted by the vice-chancellors of the universities concerned, it was stated at the meeting that no more than Tk8,000 would be allocated to students through bank accounts by January 31, 2021.
Students would not have to pay any interest and would be able to repay this loan in four equal installments or at one go after universities are reopened or during their academic life.
The UGC sent letters to the vice chancellors of public universities on August 9 asking for a list of indigent students in need of smartphones to participate in online education activities. The universities, in response, sent a list of 41,501 indigent students to the commission.
Notably, the students of National University, Bangladesh Open University, Islamic Arabic University, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, Chittagong Medical University, Rajshahi Medical University and Sylhet Medical University will not be getting this loan facility.