The Higher Education Loans Board (Helb) should reconsider its approach to students’ loan recovery if it is to remain self-sufficient and effective.
Reports that Helb will publish the names and photos of defaulters in the leading dailies cannot be considered to be a progressive approach to loan recovery in a modern society.
The decision exposes the agency's lack of imagination and application of modern and practical methods to get debtors to pay up.
The board should instead consider issuing full waivers on penalties and interest for outstanding loans, for a period of 90 days.
This is a simple approach – which has proved successful for other institutions – that doesn’t embarrass the loan beneficiaries who have defaulted.
In the past, Helb has issued partial (read 80 per cent) waivers on penalties accrued but has failed to waive the accrued interest. But to do this, Helb must stop seeing itself as a bank.
It is not in its interest to collect penalties on disbursed loans.