A total of 126 needy students from Nakuru have been selected by the Equity Group Foundation (EGF) for the 2021 ‘Wings to Fly’ scholarship programme.
Principal Secretary, State Department of Education, Dr Julius Jwan, said over 700 applications had been received by EGF from the County out of which 210 were shortlisted.
Speaking during an inspection tour of public education facilities within the devolved unit by top Ministry officials, Dr Jwan stated that after visits to the applicants’ homes, background checks and verifications 69 girls and 57 boys were awarded the Scholarships.
“The beneficiaries will all be taken to boarding schools where all their school fees, learning kits, uniform, pocket money and essentials will be paid for by EGF. Whenever schools close they will be facilitated to travel to their respective homes.
During school holidays, they will be taken through mentorship programs to make them skilled individuals,” he pointed out.
The 12-year old ‘Wings to Fly’ Programme is funded by The MasterCard Foundation with support from German’s KfW and Equity Group.
The students selected to ‘Wings to Fly’ scholars will form the 12th cohort and will join the 17,304 scholars who have benefited from scholarships offered through the programme.
Dr Jwan indicated that although many scholarships offer opportunities to students who excel, the Ministry’s Elimu Scholarship Programme considers scholars who scored less than 300 marks in KCPE.
The selection of students with less than 300 marks was intentional, according to the Principal Secretary.
“It does not make sense to give scholarships to children who only score above 400 because many of them do not need the scholarship. The selection of scholars should be done wisely. They should select children who are needy and unable to pay school fees,” he said.
He noted that many children perform poorly in exams due to the difficult conditions they face, but if awarded scholarships, they can perform better.
Launched by Education Cabinet Secretary (CS), George Magoha, in January last year, Elimu Scholarship Programme seeks to sponsor the education of 18,000 of the country’s poorest students over two years.
The Scholarship is an initiative of the Ministry of Education in collaboration with the World Bank and Equity Bank’s ‘Wings to Fly’ scholarship programme.
He said the government was putting more resources in expansion of infrastructure in secondary schools to facilitate the 100 percent transition policy.
Part of the funding from the World Bank, Dr Jwan pointed out, had been channeled into construction of science laboratories.
He indicated that the infrastructure investment was part of the State’s wider plan to encourage science and innovation in schools as the country transits from the 8-4-4 system of education to the new Competency Based Curriculum.
The PS said disbursement of the funds for infrastructure and recruitment of additional teachers has put students in public learning institutions at par with their counterparts in private schools.
In January this year the World Bank approved a request from the Kenyan Government to restructure a Sh20 billion loan, to provide additional funds for the construction of classrooms in public secondary schools.
This came days after schools re-opened for the first time since March last year at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, with concerns about how learners and teachers will maintain the physical distance required to stop the spread of Covid-19.
By Anne Mwale