A total of 9,000 beneficiaries of the Elimu Scholarship Programme will be proceeding to form one, following its successful launch. The programme, which is in its initial year, is supported by the World Bank-funded Secondary Education Quality Improvement Project (SEQIP) and implemented by Equity Bank. The inaugural cohort saw more than 38,000 primary school graduates across the country apply for the scholarship.
Under the programme, vulnerable children from financially constrained backgrounds in the 110 targeted sub counties and informal settlements in 15 urban centres who attained 280 marks and above in 2019 KCPE, were considered for the inaugural 2020 cohort of 9,000 scholars. In order to realize the goal of affirmative action, candidates who are orphans or who hail from vulnerable communities and those with special needs and disabilities who attained below 280 marks were given special consideration.
Speaking during the launch at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) in Nairobi, Education Cabinet Secretary Prof. George Magoha noted that the programme 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.
“This is perhaps the most transformative programme for education in this country because needy children now have an opportunity to achieve their dreams,” said Prof. Magoha. The Cabinet Secretary noted that the beneficiaries were selected based on solid, verifiable and objective criteria. He lauded Equity for putting together rigorous selection criteria, which he described as free, fair, transparent and executed with utmost integrity. “I sat through complete interviews and went on home verification visits in Kisumu, Thika and Nyeri. What I saw is a committed selection team made up of education officers, local administrators and the local communities, coordinated by Equity,” he said.
He further added that the list of all the selected scholars would be made publicly available in the Ministry of Education website for ease of reference by schools, parents and other interested parties. He urged partners to pick the remaining scholars since they had already undergone the Elimu verification process.
The Kenya government, through the Ministry of Education appointed Equity Group as the implementing agency of the inaugural Elimu Scholarship, due to the success of the Wings to Fly Programme. Equity Group Foundation Executive Chairman Dr. James Mwangi, who was also present at the event lauded the government’s commitment in creating equitable access to education.
To date, Equity Group Foundation and Mastercard with additional support from other partners have provided 17,304 comprehensive secondary school scholarships to bright but financially disadvantaged students under the Wings to FlyProgramme.
The 18,000 Elimu scholarships will be rolled out at a cost of Kshs. 3 billion funded by the Ministry of Education with support from the World Bank within a period of two years. This brings the total scholarships offered through the Equity Group Foundation to 35,304.
“Financial constraints to a very large extent prohibit the transitioning of students from primary to secondary school. We are confident that the Elimu Scholarship Programme will address that challenge,” said Ruth Charo, World Bank’s senior education specialist co-task team leader during the launch. She represented the World Bank’s country representative, Felipe Jaramillo.