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Strive to keep poor but bright students in school

By The Standard | February 6th 2016

Yet again, Equity Bank has given out scholarships to needy students. This time some 2,907 secondary school students across the country will benefit.

Yesterday, President Uhuru Kenyatta presided over a ceremony where it was announced that these youths from needy families would be offered a life-changing opportunity through the provision of education scholarships.

Education offers learners an opportunity to uplift the quality of life and increases economic opportunities. Quality education is especially crucial for children from poor backgrounds and the remotest parts of the country.

While access to education is a constitutional right, the national and county governments have not been able to guarantee every child decent schooling. Indeed, even after the introduction of free primary and secondary education, thousands of pupils still drop out of school because they lack fees.

Equity Bank must therefore be commended for its game-changing Wings to Fly programme. The Equity Group Foundation launched the scholarship programme in 2011 with the generous support of The MasterCard Foundation. Under the programme that targets the poor and marginalised, it is expected students who graduate from college will be able to give back to society by uplifting their local communities from poverty and deprivation.

Equity Bank Chairman Peter Munga and Chief Executive James Mwangi say the bank is determined to help as many bright needy students as they can. The number of beneficiaries may appear small today, but the implication of the foundation’s support will be felt in the years to come as these students take up leadership roles in their communities.

We appeal to other financially endowed individuals and companies to emulate the Equity model and help poor students access quality education. This is not only a moral duty, it is the decent thing to do.

To complement these efforts, national and county governments must up their game and increase the amount of bursary allocations. It is self-defeating to have needy but bright students failing to progress their education because they cannot raise school fees. School principals should highlight cases where such students are at risk of missing class and alert authorities. Let us bolster the youth and prepare them to become productive citizens.


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