A few days ago, President Obama announced plans of his administration to forgive a $7.7 billion student loan debt. About 387 000 people will soon receive letters officially acquitting them of their student loan debts. Many have described the pardon of the billion dollar student loan debt as bold and compassionate.
The need to do this arose from the common factor uniting the borrowers. They are all disabled people. And recognizing that their disability fosters a limitation to work and clear their debts, Obama’s administration has decided to waive the billions of dollars they collectively owe. This is one of the most thoughtful plan the Obama administration will be remembered for.
According to the American law, anyone with a severe and permanent disability is “eligible to have the government discharge their federal student loans.” 4 years ago the administration made provisions for the permanently disabled people in America to use their Social Security designation to apply for a discharge. Under the “Medical Improvement Not Expected” designation, the debts of the disabled person is automatically discharged. However, the Education Department is going an extra mile to identify these disabled people.
“Americans with disabilities have a right to student loan relief. And we need to make it easier, not harder, for them to receive the benefits they are due.” – Secretary Ted Mitchell, Education
For real this billion dollar student Loan debt forgiveness, sends a heavy message across to Africa. By this gesture, there is a positive stress on the importance of education and the inclusiveness of the disabled society. According to the UN, one-third of the 60 million population who do not go to school are disabled. Policies like student loans is a near fairy-tale. Besides there appears to be no operational human rights observed for the disabled in Africa. How far can Africa go to make the disabled community inclusive in national benefits?
A while ago, Nigerian President Buhari appointed a blind man as his senior special adviser. Such are the gestures that suggest that the disabled people are still part of the larger society and should be catered for.