Help needy students but stop copycat stunts

Kenyans’ generosity is often manifested in their quick responses to needy students’ appeals for school fees assistance. Indeed, there are many poor children who would have dropped out of school. In recent years, there have been reports of students admitted to Form One arriving in their new schools with empty metal boxes and only their letters of admission. 

These learners deserve help, having worked so hard to pass their Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exam. The first incident moved many people to tears and some donated money to enable the young man to be admitted to school. The question now is whether some sly parents could be orchestrating stunts to benefit from Kenyans’ kind hearts.

This year, there have been several cases of poor young people reportedly walking long distances or borrowing money from neighbours and taking rides on boda boda to their schools. However, there is a high possibility of this generosity being abused.  After all, the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) and other bursary schemes are every year catering for several hundred thousand needy students.

The support given to those who make dramatic entries to schools is not sustainable, and is likely to encourage copycat behaviour. There is therefore need for a proper mechanism through which children from poor families can be assisted beyond the CDF and bursary schemes. Also, the donations solicited through this publicity must be properly accounted for.

This also raises the perennial question of parental responsibility. People cannot just continue having children and hoping that someone else will cater for them. They should only appeal for help where they fall short. Encouraging young people to lie in order to get assistance come to haunt them later in life. Only genuinely needy students should benefit from this generosity.  

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