Man who topped KCPE and was freed from jail gets scholarship

Mr Juma Nyasi who scored 401 in his KCPE exams has been sponsored by the county government. He is set to join Ikutha Boys Secondary School in Kitui County. 

Photo credit: Lucy Mkanyika I Nation Media Group

Despite scoring 401 marks in his Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examination, the future looked bleak for 28-year-old Juma Nyasi, whose life sentence in a sexual assault case was quashed by the High Court.

With neither a calling letter nor fees to help him join secondary school, Mr Nyasi was staring at uncertainty over continuing with his education.

This was his fate until the Taita Taveta County government intervened and gave him a full scholarship to join Ikutha Boys Secondary School in Kitui County.

"I had no hope of joining secondary school but I thank God that I have been selected to get the scholarship. I will join the school next week," he said. 

Mr Nyasi was released last month from Manyani Maximum Security Prison, where he was serving life in prison after he was convicted of sexually assaulting a three-year-old boy.

But he is now a free man after the Voi High Court acquitted him of the charges after new evidence emerged.

He was the best student among inmates across the country.

"I am so happy that my dream of becoming an engineer will come to pass," he said.

Mr Nyasi is among hundreds of bright students who are set to benefit from an Sh11 million county scholarship programme for their secondary education. 

The programme, which began at the onset of devolution, has sponsored over 400 students from Voi, Mwatate, Wundanyi and Taveta sub-counties.

Speaking when he issued the scholarship funds at the county headquarters in Mwatate, Education Fund Board chairperson David Mombo said only deserving students would benefit. 

He said the selection process was transparent and only bright and needy students who scored over 300 marks received the scholarship. 

Mr Mombo said since Governor Granton Samboja took office, his administration has increased the slots to 100 beneficiaries every year.

"Our first cohort will be completing their secondary school education this year. Since 2018 we have been sponsoring five students every year," he said.

County Secretary Liverson Mghendi encouraged the beneficiaries to work hard so as to continue benefiting from the programme. 

"When you get to school do not consider yourself as someone from a humble background. Work hard so that you can secure your future," he said. 

Ms Pricillar Mwangeka, the governor's running mate in the August 9 elections, said the county government wants more needy students to benefit from the programme.

Ms Mwangeka, who announced the beneficiaries on Monday, said the county government would pay schools fees and the cost of uniforms, stationery and boarding items.

"The exercise was very transparent because the beneficiaries were identified by the committees at the ward level. The county government is keen to ensure that children from poor backgrounds have access to education," she said. 

She asked school administrators to bear with the county government on delays in paying school fees, which she blamed on late disbursements of funds from the Treasury.

"We guarantee schools that the county government will pay the fees, so don't send the pupils home. We ask them to be patient because we will send the cheques once we get funds from the Treasury," she said.

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