A total 247 bright and needy pupils from Turkana County have benefited from the Elimu scholarship programme.
The pupils are among 9,000 who have benefited from the bursary scheme, which is funded by the national government and the World Bank.
The Elimu Scholarship is an initiative funded by the World Bank and Government of Kenya through the Ministry of Education that seeks to improve access to secondary education under Secondary Education Quality Improvement project (SEQIP).
Besides providing scholarships to KCPE 2019 students joining secondary school in 2020 from vulnerable, needy families and those with special needs, SEQIP also funds construction of classrooms and hiring of TSC teachers to meet the student to teacher ratio requirement.
Speaking during the event to award the beneficiaries at Lodwar Boys high school on Sunday, the scholarship general manager for Turkana county, Collins Mukangu said the program benefits only those pupils who attended public schools.
“The government has been using the experience from the Equity Bank Wings to Fly scholarship programme to ensure the most needy benefit from the Elimu scholarship programme,” said Mukangu.
He added that the selection committee comprising of religious leaders, social development officers a
nd other community leaders among others are keen to ensure that only the critically needy benefit from the scholarships.
He added that a number of refugees from Turkana West sub county also benefited from the programme although he could not provide the exact figures immediately.
The wings to fly scholarship beneficiaries who were commissioned on January 3 at Kenyatta University saw 1,136 students benefit while the Elimu scholarship will benefit 9,000 students.
Over 9,000 students who meet the requirements listed below will benefit from the Kenya Shillings 20 billion funding for SEQIP.
The scholarship will cater for school fees, transport, and learning materials for the four years of secondary education.
Speaking at the event, the Turkana Central Deputy County Commissioner (DCC), Alexander Mativo challenged the beneficiaries to take advantage of the programme to improve their lives.
“The best thing you can do to show appreciation to the government and the World Bank who have sponsored you is by working hard in school and producing good results at the end of your four years,” Mativo said.
Elsewhere, the Migori County Education Quality Assurance Officer (CEQAO), Fredrick Maoga wants students who qualified for National Government Elimu Scholarship Programme to observe discipline and hard work as they move to secondary schools next week.
Maoga said students who were selected are needy and bright and therefore they should demonstrate their competence in their next level of education.
“You students are not going to perform if you don’t work hard; if you are not disciplined or if you don’t choose the right friends while you are in school,” Maoga told more than 263 Elimu Scholarship beneficiaries and their parents at Migori Boys School on Sunday.
Maoga challenged students to excel in academic performance as a way of appreciating the government and all partners of Elimu Scholarship Program.
The CEQAO however, challenged parents to support the government effort by paying for the lunch program in schools, regretting that most parents fail to pay lunch program charged between Sh.9, 000 and Sh.13, 000 in public schools despite paying other expenses.
He said the payment of lunch program fee will enable children to spend more time in school and also have more contact hours with the teachers.
Maoga however, challenged parents to play their parental responsibility even after the National Government, County Government or other partners for instance Equity Bank paying their children’s fee.
The same sentiments was echoed by Duncan Sino, the Equity Bank Migori Branch Manager who warned that the sponsors are considering withdrawing sponsorship of students who are indisciplined or who will not perform.
Sino wants parents to make sure their children maintain their performance in schools through monitoring of their performance and guiding them where necessary.
The two were speaking on Sunday during the flagging off of the 263 students who were selected for the Elimu Scholarship Program.
Kuria East and Kuria West and Uriri are among the 110 constituencies to benefit from Elimu Scholarship Program in Migori County.
Elimu Scholarship is a World Bank sponsored program through the Government of Kenya and is implemented by the Equity Bank.
By Peter Gitonga/Geoffrey Satia