The Education Cabinet Secretary (CS), Prof. George Magoha has warned schools against illegal fee increment, urging Kenyans to report the incidents to police officers for legal action.
Magoha said that although the Free Day Secondary Education programme has turned out to be a massive success, there are still a number of households that cannot afford other expenses such as boarding, uniform and transportation costs and therefore it is illegal for schools to put additional charges on parents.
Speaking during the launch of Elimu Scholarship Programme, a Kenyan government Education Program Scholarship funded by the World Bank through the Ministry of Education and the Equity Group Foundation at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) in Nairobi on Wednesday, Magoha said the Ministry of Education will ensure pupils affected by early pregnancies will be taken back to school to ensure 100 percent transition.
Magoha challenged the Chairman of the Parliamentary Educational Committee, Julius Kibiwott Melly to ensure transparency during National Government Constituency Development Fund NG-CDF allocations.
“I want to dare say that NG-CDF should be managed differently, I am not saying it should be removed from Members of Parliament (MPs), but can they forget those who voted for them and stop favouring them,” said Magoha.
He continued… “My visit to informal settlements in Kisumu, Kiambu and Nyeri made me appreciate the wisdom of His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta who advised us to add 15 urban areas with informal settlements to the 30 counties earlier earmarked as the benefitting areas. I can face the country and report that the 9,000 beneficiaries of this programme deserve it since their selection was based on solid, verifiable and objective criteria.”
The CS added that 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 the CS.
He added that the Ministry will, therefore, establish structures to ensure proper coordination and regulation of all the scholarship programmes to ensure maximum benefits and utilisation.
“This will enable us to create synergies for prosperity and sustainability of all scholarship programmes, including the one that we are launching today,” he said.
The Basic Education Principal Secretary (PS), said that the Elimu Scholarship Programme was aimed at securing the future for the scholars and the future for the country.
He further stated that the program emulates the principle of access to education where those who merit but cannot afford there should be a system for them to progress.
Melly said that the retirement age should stand at 60 years to give room for young people to get employed.
He also pointed out that the Ministry of education needs to ensure the disbursement of funds to schools is done on time.
A total of 833 needy but bright students who sat for KCPE 2019 from Nairobi County and its environs were present during the launch representing a total of 9,000 enrolled in the first cohort of 2020, a project that pooled over Sh.20 billion.
The event was also attended by the Equity Bank CEO, Dr. James Mwangi and a representative of the Country Director of World Bank, Ruth Kyalo.
Elsewhere, parents and guardians have been cautioned against giving false information to potential donors for their children to qualify for scholarships.
Speaking in Mombasa during Scholarship awards of Sh.5.85million to over 90 students from poor backgrounds who performed well in last year’s KCPE, Hatua Network Director and Co-founder, Peter Kwame, cited unscrupulous methods some well-up guardians and parents use to acquire scholarships for their undeserving children.
The Director observed the uncouth tactics include faking areas of residence where some parents misdirect scholarship officials to poor households for their children to qualify for the award.
He said such mannerisms damage reputation of charitable organizations when donors pay impromptu visits to former houses they had been taken as residential areas for scholarship awardees only to find they had orchestrated.
Kwame pleaded with parents and guardians to desist from misleading the goodwill organizations that have come out to help the needy get an education which is an equalizer to a better tomorrow.
“Organization officials have been taken to stage-managed homes by some beneficiaries during home visits as part of the vetting process to assess the need status of the scholarship applicants,” lamented Kwame.
He appealed to students who know of cases of more deserving children than themselves to give up the scholarships to desperate ones who risk discontinuing their academic journey.
Hatua Network has helped over 500 beneficiaries to gain high school education up to university and colleges since its inception in 2006.
The network operates in Mombasa where all the beneficiaries get mentorship programmes during school holidays, career coaching for those who have completed their tertiary education, including linkages to professional networks for job absorption.
According to the Director, the Organization runs 11 satellite libraries in Mombasa with the main one in Likoni that caters for all including the community and is disability friendly.
The Hatua Network began in Likoni Mombasa under the Co-founders and current Directors, Gabrielle Fondiller and Peter Kwame with an aim of transforming the lives of the youth from poverty to professional careers.
Gabrielle emphasized the role Hatua plays in the lives of its beneficiaries surpass the scholarships offered, adding that they instill positive values in the youth to gain ability to succeed in life during the mentorship programmes.
She commended the efforts by parents, guardians, and Head teachers among other stakeholders for aiding in the success of the Hatua family which includes alumni of the programs now working at different organizations.
By KNA Team.