By Dominic Odipo
What do these world-class universities and colleges have in common? Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Duke, Harvard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Middlebury College and Princeton?
What about Seoul National University, Smith College, Swarthmore College, the University of Cape Town, the University of Manchester, the University of Pennsylvania, Williams College, the Karolinska Institute in Sweden and Yale?
Two things. First, each of them will be admitting a high-grade Kenyan male or female into its undergraduate programme later this year. And, second, each of those students will have been sponsored and mentored by the Equity Bank Group under its university sponsorship programme. Under this programme, 21 top Kenyan scholars, just breaking out of teen age, will join these world-leading universities and colleges on full scholarships provided by those universities themselves.
That means that these scholars will be able to access some of the best educational facilities in the world at no direct cost to themselves or their families.
Courtesy of Equity Bank, some of these country’s finest and most beautiful minds will sit in the lecture and tutorial rooms of some of the finest higher institutions of learning in the world.
Under the bank’s university sponsorship programme, which was rolled out in 1998, some of the country’s brightest students are sponsored and mentored by the bank through their entire university education within the country or overseas.
All their university fees and allowances are paid by the bank through all the years these students study at any university of their choice within the country.
During the holidays, these students return to work at Equity Bank branches across the country and are paid accordingly. And, at these universities, these students can take any course they like, ranging from architecture to zoology.
They don’t need to major in finance, economics, banking or accounting. The idea is to develop the mind and leadership potential of the scholar, regardless of whether he or she later becomes a doctor, lawyer, engineer or architect.
Some of these top students are also encouraged and mentored to apply for places and scholarships at the world’s leading universities. Under this programme, almost 70 of these young Kenyans have already been admitted to these top universities and institutions of higher learning.
The leading universities in the western world, and particularly in the United States, now have at least one Equity Bank scholar in their rolls. Bright, young Kenyan scholars of either gender are now studying at some of the world’s premier universities courtesy of a bank that did not even exist 20 years ago.