At least 2,500 students will continue to benefit from the Lamu Scholarship and Bursary Programme initiative aimed at improving education standards in the county.
Speaking during the 3rd County Integrated Development Programme (CIDP III) stakeholders’ forum held at the Lamu Youth Assembly Building in Amu Island, Education Chief Officer Abdalla Ahmed stated that the Lamu County government commitment to the Sh120 million scholarships and bursaries programme to ensure that the students’ transition rates hit the100 percent mark
“In the last financial year (2020-2021), Sh88, 409, 529 million was used to facilitate the scholarship programme that has motivated more learners in primary schools to achieve the 300 marks required to qualify for the initiative,” he said.
The programme which has been in place since 2017 has seen an increase in the number of students qualifying for scholarships from a paltry 160 to more than 800 in their KCPE exams iun recent times.
He further revealed that the county government had disbursed Sh57, 332, 853 million for bursaries of which 7,785 students benefited from the initiative.
Students studying in day secondary schools got Sh6, 000 while those in boarding facilities were entitled to Sh10, 000 each.
For tertiary institutions students got Sh10, 000 for certificates, Sh15, 000 for diploma courses while those in university received Sh20, 000 in bursaries.
“For TVET institutions those undertaking courses in our local polytechnics received a cumulative figure of Sh29,971,054 million in bursary sponsorships of which we had 2,307 beneficiaries,” Lamu County Bursary Fund CEO Maliha Mohammed Ali stated.
She further noted that students studying at the local TVETs benefited from full sponsorship of their courses including the payment of their exam fees.
On her part Lamu West Sub County deputy director Rukia Ali stated that there is need to ensure the sustainability of the bursary and scholarship programme which she added needs to pool in more students from marginalized areas such as the Boni in order to have a greater impact in equitable distribution of the scholarship and bursary programme.
Lamu County Governor Issa Abdalla Timamy has already intimated that his administration would lower the current cut off scholarship mark from 300 marks to 250 marks for marginalized communities within Lamu.
“There is also need to ensure the timely disbursement of scholarship and bursary funds so that beneficiaries are not sent home for fees due to failure by the county government to release the funds in time,” Umulkher Ahmed, Muslim Women Advancement of Rights and Protection (MWARP) Lamu County coordinator said.
She further said that there is need to ensure that education stakeholders ensure that the school feeding programme is implemented in order to ensure that the children’s welfare is not infringed.
Sentiments echoed by Faza Action Youth Group Programme Officer Jaffar Masoud who stated that the county bursary and scholarship programme needs to be enhanced to ensure that all Lamu children benefit from it.
“It is still common to hear children missing out on bursaries and scholarships because ward administrators could have failed to hand in the bursary forms on time,” Masoud said.
By Amenya Ochieng