President William Ruto keeps promise on free scholarship

President William Ruto during the 59th Jamhuri Day celebrations at Nyayo National Stadium on December 12, 2022. [Kelly Ayodi, Standard]

Kenyans who attended the Jamhuri day celebrations had something to smile about after President William Ruto said that they would leave with a free scholarship from Arizona State University.

President William Ruto had initially promised that whoever attends the Jamhuri celebrations at Nyayo Stadium would get the scholarship and true to his word, he directed those in attendance on how to access the 18-unit course.

"It is now time to keep the promise. There is a QR Code near you. Scan and access the scholarship now. A 16-unit course that would have cost you Sh100,000, is now accessible to you for free, courtesy of the Innovation Jamhuri," said President Ruto.

Despite having the QR code, some people present did not have smartphones and were unable to access the website while others did not understand what the president was talking about.

"Hiyo scholarship inapeanwa wapi? Sijaiona. (Where has the scholarship been issued? I haven't seen it.) They have explained how to get it but I have not understood," said Mwangi Wachira.

However, a spot check into the university's website shows that the program dubbed, Thunderbird's 100 million Learners Bootcamp on Global Entrepreneurship & Innovation, is not solely awarded to Kenyans but is geared to reach 100 million learners globally. The Bootcamp is an entry-level program appropriate for learners from all educational levels.

"The 100 million Learners Bootcamp on Global Entrepreneurship & Innovation can be taken by any learner at no cost, thanks to the generous philanthropic gift from the Najafi Global Initiative," reads the overview on the website.

The scholarship is open to even those who did not attend the Jamhuri celebrations and one only requires basic information for registration.

The course covers areas such as strategic planning: visioning and goal-setting, organizational readiness for scaling and expansion, financial analysis and management, creating a business culture for growth and developing staff for business growth.

The scholarships are part of a wider effort by Ruto's government to drive a technology agenda that he says will create one million jobs in the coming years.

In his speech, the President said that the government has agreed on partnerships to support local organisations in providing opportunities for youths to acquire training and skills in digital productivity.

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