Government’s commitment to restructuring the Student Revolving Loan Fund (SRLF) was outlined to its management and staff at the Fund’s 45th Anniversary Awards Dinner, at Mahogany Ridge, Plum Tree Road, St. James, last night.
Minister of Education, Technological & Vocational Training, Kay McConney, in delivering the feature address, assured staffers that Government was aware that for the Fund to continue existing another 45 years and more, it would have to make changes in its operations.
She said: “Therefore, the SRLF will soon be restructured to allow it to be transformed into a more customer-centric and agile organisation. This is to be achieved by ensuring that the SRLF is a great place to work for its employees because the first customer is the internal customer. It is to ensure that excellent service is provided to because management and leadership is ‘in service’.
Acknowledging that she was pleased to be championing the restructuring effort in Cabinet, Ms. McConney noted that new and innovative lending products would be introduced and the Fund could expect a greater leveraging of technology. “Certainly, we believe, that if the SRLF can be transformed in this manner that it will serve Barbadians for another 45 years and more,” she stated.
While also noting that Government was proud of the Fund’s achievements, Minister McConney extended “heartfelt appreciation” to the management and staff and wished the institution continued success in the future.
She stressed that all Barbadians “owned” the Student Revolving Loan Fund, and had a vested interest in ensuring its viability. And she added: “I want you to spread the word about the Student Revolving Loan Fund.”
The Education Minister, stating that providing educational loans was an inherently risky business, said the SRLF would soon be asked to perform as a “commercial state-owned enterprise”, with some practices that wouldn’t simply be government-focused but oriented and anchored in that of a “true, viable, sustainable commercial entity”.
Ms. McConney, who also noted that many student lending agencies, regionally and internationally, had suffered severe financial setbacks or had closed completely, said: “The Student Revolving Loan Fund is still going strong in Barbados, 45 years later. It is able to generate, and I am so proud of this, yearly profits, and for the past twelve years, it has operated without the need for yearly Government subventions.
“This is testimony to the prudent oversight of successive Management Committees, and the dedication and commitment of management and staff of the Student Revolving Loan Fund.”