State to harmonise bursaries to help more needy learners

Thursday, January 9th, 2020 00:00 |
Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha interacts with Elimu Scholarship and Wings-to-Fly beneficiaries at KICD, Nairobi, yesterday. Photo/PD/GERALD ITHANA

The government is working on modalities to harmonise bursary programmes to eliminate duplication and ensure more needy learners benefit.

Education Cabinet Secretary Prof George Magoha yesterday said his ministry will establish structures to ensure proper coordination and regulation of all scholarship programmes to ensure maximum benefits and utilisation.

He said the exercise will help the ministry in creating synergies for prosperity and sustainability of all scholarship programmes, including the latest one dubbed Elimu, adding that scholarships will help boost achievement of  the 100 per cent transition policy from primary to secondary schools.

“There are many bursaries currently running in aid of needy secondary education learners in Kenya.

To eliminate duplication and manage challenges that may be impeding effective administration of scholarships and other social support initiatives by partners, I have asked the State Department of Basic Education to map out the existing scholarships and advise me on effective coordination mechanisms,” said Magoha.

He made the remarks at Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) when he launched Elimu scholarship programme, set to benefit 9,000 needy learners who sat the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exam last year and are to join Form One next week.

Support households

Of particular concern to the CS is the manner in which MPs manage the National Government Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF).

“We need to relook at the design of scholarships if we are to have better impact by looking for people who really need it. CDF should be managed differently… ,” said the CS.

Even if the government has issued scholarships to 9,000 learners, Magoha said it is still unable to sponsor many needy students and the NG-CDF should come in handy to complement this initiative as opposed to only focusing on top performers in KCPE exam.

Magoha assured that Elimu beneficiaries were identified without prejudice and 38,000 applications were received.

He urged the National Assembly Education Committee chairman Julius Melly, who attended the launch, to mobilise fellow MPs to get the children left out in the Elimu scholarship programme into schools.

The CS urged philanthropists to support households unable to meet expenses outside of the Free Day Secondary Education programme.

“I am a living example of someone who was given an opportunity. The First President, (Jomo) Kenyatta, gave me a scholarship on merit and allowed me to study medicine elsewhere… I came face-to-face with the worst form of poverty when I toured the country to monitor this programme and we need to support these children,” said Magoha.

The list of 2020 Elimu Scholarship beneficiaries will be displayed on the ministry’s websites for scrutiny to enhance transparency and accountability.

Equity Bank chief executive James Mwangi urged scholars to seize the opportunity they have been granted and work hard.

Elsewhere, Hatua Network director and co-founder Peter Kwame has cautioned  parents and guardians against giving false information to potential donors for their children to qualify for scholarship to avoid locking out deserving students. 

He made the remarks when he awarded scholarships worth Sh5.85 million to over 90 students from poor backgrounds in Mombasa.

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