The process of selecting Form One students who will benefit from the 9,000 Elimu Scholarships has been completed even as many of the learners remain at home for lack of school fees.
This is the third cohort to benefit under the programme, which is funded by the World Bank through the Ministry of Education and implemented by Equity Group Foundation.
The foundation has also awarded 1,000 scholarships under its Wings To Fly programme, which is now in its 13th year. More than 111,000 learners applied for the scholarships this year.
The students who sat the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education in March started reporting to school on May 4. However, many of them are yet to report and Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha this week launched a multi-agency exercise aimed at taking them to school.
Beneficiaries of the programme enjoy payment of full tuition fees for the four years of their secondary education and a mentorship programme.
“Your past does not determine your future. I encourage you to exploit your full academic potential and utilise your talents and abilities to make a difference, and to make the best of this opportunity through focus, determination and hard work,” Equity Group Foundation chair James Mwangi said while announcing completion of the process.
Selection of beneficiaries is conducted by members of the community who serve on Community Scholarship Selection Boards (CSSBs) and Community Scholarship Advisory Committees (CSACs) across the country.
They scrutinise the applications, conduct face-to-face interviews and making home visits. The CSSBs comprise of relevant key personalities in the community and is chaired by the sub-county director of education while the CSACs comprise of relevant key personalities in the community and chaired by the deputy county commissioner, both with support from the local Equity Bank branch.
Meanwhile, many students continue to seek for help from well-wishers in order to report to school. Nelly Novel and Elvins Lazaro were selected to join St Francis Rangala Girls in Siaya County and Kanyawanga High School respectively but have remained at home after being unable to raise the requisite fees and admission requirements.
Nelly 14, and the first born in a family of four, lives with her grandmother Mary Auma Onyango who sells mandazis at the gate of Kadika Primary School while the girl’s mother does menial jobs for a living. According to the mother, chances of the girl, who scored 362 marks, getting placement at Rangala Girls may be dimmed if well-wishers do not come to her rescue.
“She was called for an interview by Elimu Scholarship and we are yet to get a feedback. The girl is bright but we are unable to cater for her secondary education,” she told the Nation.
“We will be glad if anyone can come to her rescue since our hands are tied. She has a promising future which may go to waste if she doesn’t pursue her secondary education.”
Mrs Rose Aluoch, who attends the same church as Elvin’s parents, said the boy is yet to report despite the church raising some money for “a few basics.”
He scored 355 marks at Migori Primary School before Sunrise SDA church raised Sh15,000 for his shopping. He is currently living with a church member.
“He has not joined yet. We have tried the much we can but we have not met the full requirements,” she said.
Additional reporting by Ian Byron