Manage bursaries, scholarships better

Thursday, July 22nd, 2021 00:00 | By
Baringo Central Member of Parliament Joshua Kandie (center) posing for a photo with some of the NG-CDF bursary beneficiaries from Kabarnet Boys High school and Hurth Secondary School students, after issuing out cheques worth Sh43.7 million on Friday at the NG-CDF offices in Kabarnet town Baringo Central Sub-County. Photo/Courtesy Photo by Faith Lagat

The 2020 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) graduates will be joining secondary schools to which they were admitted in a week. 

In a bid to ensure all learners access basic education, the government has insisted that it is implementing the 100 per cent transition policy from primary to secondary school.

 Indeed, the Education ministry has said that all the 1.2 million learners who sat the 2020 KCPE will be admitted to secondary schools, assuring that an audit of existing vacancies in all public and private schools has been conducted.

We are, however, concerned by reports that more than 104,000 poor students may face challenges after missing out on scholarships offered by government and the Equity Group Foundation. 

The government is today expected to commission 10,705 beneficiaries of the Elimu Scholarship Programme (ESP) and the Equity’s Wings to Fly initiative.

Of the successful applicants, 1,705 scholars will be joining secondary schools under the Wings to Fly Programme while 9,000 will be under the government-sponsored ESP. 

The ESP scholars are the second cohort that the government is sponsoring while the Wings to Fly is in its twelfth year.

When the World Bank-funded government programme was launched last year, the Ministry of Education said ESP will support 18,000 learners from needy and vulnerable households on full four-year secondary school scholarships, selected in two cohorts of 9,000 each. 

The programme has ended and as the country waits for renewal, it is time the government came up with a comprehensive system to ensure that the 100 per cent transition policy is implemented to the letter.

To this end, government needs to move with speed to secure funds to ensure the programme’s continuity, for the sake of vulnerable learners.

Other organisations such as KCB, Absa Bank, Cooperative Bank, National Government Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF) and county governments have come forth to sponsor learners, but a well-coordinated system seems to be lacking.

This has given politicians room to use bursaries as a campaign tool and deserving cases have been left out.

Last year, the ministry said it would look at ways to redeem scholarship management, in addition to streamlining allocations.

The ministry also stated that it was looking towards expanding the mandate of the Jomo Kenyatta Foundation (JKF) to become a centre for coordinating the various scholarship programmes.

It is about time the government revisited this idea so that more learners can benefit from scholarships in a transparent environment. 

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