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239 needy students secure scholarships

At least 239 needy students from Uasin Gishu County are set to join Form One this year after securing the Jomo Kenyatta Foundation Elimu Scholarship.

In an interview with the County Director of Education (CDE) for Uasin Gishu, Mr. John Gitonga, who presided over the launch of the programme said 239 out of the 2543 students who applied for the government scholarship programme were successful.

He pointed out that the scholarship aims to achieve the 100% transition policy, where vulnerable students from the county have a chance to successfully advance from primary to secondary education.

He alluded to the fact that the exercise was conducted in a fair manner as the county education team worked together with area chiefs, elders, and religious leaders to identify the most vulnerable families who are unable to raise fees to further their children’s education in secondary school.

The county director expressed worry that the programme encountered drugs, substance abuse, and early pregnancies among the beneficiaries as a serious challenge.

He confirmed that 20 female learners dropped out of the programme last year due to such cases.

“Last year, as we have in the records, 20 girls dropped. So we have advised both our boys and girls that education is not for the rich or poor but for those who are willing,” he warned.

He said the programme is one of the ways the government aims to uplift the livelihoods of needy students through enhanced access to education.

Noting that the nation is losing a young generation through drugs and substance abuse, Mr. Gitonga called upon the parents and community at large to be mentors and keep guard of these children while at home during school holidays.

In his remarks, Uasin Gishu County Executive Committee Member (CECM) for Education, Technical Training, Gender, Social Protection, and Culture, Anthony Sitienei, called upon other financial bodies to work with the national and county governments so that more vulnerable children can be supported through such programmes.

“We call upon other financial bodies that are able to assist these students to also chip in and work with the government so that we assist our young children,” he said.

The cut-off marks to qualify for the scholarship programme were 280 on KCPE; however, for the marginalised group, it was 240 for the boys and 250 for the girls.

Shirleen Cheptum, a beneficiary of the scholarship, showed appreciation through the foundation, citing that it had given her and other children from humble backgrounds a chance to pursue their dreams in order to break the poverty cycle in their homes.

“Not every parent is able to pay school fees for their children, but through the Jomo Kenyatta Foundation, many children like us will have an opportunity to change society and our country at large,” she said.

The county executive commended the government, through the Ministry of Education working together with the World Bank, for coming up with the programme, which has seen increased beneficiaries to about 9000 this year as compared to approximately 3,000 students last year.

The scholarship is expected to cover uniforms, upkeep, uniform , and transportation for the students.

By Angela Silayo and Ekuwam Sylvester

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