New State scholarships to benefit 18,000 students

Monday, December 16th, 2019 00:00 |
Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga with Andy Michael Munyiri Kamau, who scored 440 marks in KCPE at Damacrest Academy in Thogoto, Kiambu county. He offered a scholarship to the boy who hails from Nyeri. Photo/PD/JAMES WAKAHIU

Today is the deadline for 2019 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) candidates hoping to benefit from the inaugural 2020 Elimu Scholarship programme.

Under the project,  9,000 learners from financially constrained backgrounds who attained 280 marks and above in KCPE exam will be awarded scholarships next year to enable them join Form One. Another 9,000 students will benefit from the programme next year. 

Eligible candidates have until today December 16 to apply for the scholarships to be funded by the Ministry of Education with support of the World Bank.

The project will be financed through the Secondary Education Quality Improvement Project (SEQIP) and will benefit candidates from 110 targeted sub-counties and 15 urban centres with informal settlements.

The bursary is being implemented through the Equity Group Foundation.  The support caters for school fees, transport to and from school, learning materials and school kits for a four-year period.

Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha says the programme will boost the government’s 100 per cent transition policy introduced last year.

“We are determined to utilise the Sh3 billion programme to ensure all the needy and vulnerable 2019 KCPE candidates are supported to gain admission to schools of their choice,” said Magoha.

Equity Group Foundation Executive Chairman James Mwangi says the foundation will ensure the selection is thorough and based on merit.

He said the 9,000 Elimu beneficiaries will be selected while 1,125 beneficiaries will be picked under the Wings to Fly Programme, bringing the total number of scholarships to 10,125 this year.

“Equity will deploy its infrastructure and technical capacity to successfully implement the State’s scholarship programme in the selection of 18,000 needy beneficiaries over the next two years,” said Mwangi.

He said the Elimu project will widen the opportunities for more children to access secondary school education and bolster their opportunities of securing a better future for themselves, their families and communities.

He urged administrative leaders and community leaders to use their offices to create awareness on the scholarships to ensure all eligible needy children take advantage of the opportunity.

“I appeal to religious leaders to use church and mosque services to make announcements on the ongoing application process,” he added.

Wings to Fly programme, now in its 11th year, supports bright needy learners who would otherwise not be able to join secondary school due to financial constraints.

The scholarship is run through funding from Equity Group, Mastercard Foundation and German Government through KfW.

The scholarship takes care of tuition and boarding fees, books, uniform, and transport to and from school as well as pocket money for the four years of secondary school. To date, 16,168 scholars have benefitted from the programme.

Last year, the Equity Group Foundation received more than 26,000 applications from needy students who sat their 2018 KCPE examination but could not get finances for their secondary school education.

The 1,125 students set to benefit in the Wings to Fly scholarship programme are an increase from the 2019  intake where 1, 000 candidates were awarded. 

The funding is given annually to bright KCPE candidates from poor backgrounds who score 350 marks and above. Last year, the foundation received more than 26,000 applications.

Meanwhile, Mathews Aboka, deputy director in the Ministry of Education says principals will now be required to declare vacancies in their schools and propose the names of students who have expressed interest to take up the available slots.

“The admissions have been done  digitally through the National Education Management Information System (NEMIS) for transparency purposes,” he said. 

He told school administrators that candidates joining county and the sub-county schools will lose the original placement once they forfeit their chances.

Previously, some principals allegedly sold vacant Form One slots to the highest bidding parents, locking out poor but deserving students. 

Some parents  could even bribe principals or pay ‘developmement fees’ to secure chances for their children.

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