Calls for joint bid to help bright but poor students

By Margaret Kanini

Nairobi, Kenya: Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi has asked private corporations to help the ministry expand the scholarship base for bright but needy students.

He said the Government alone could not facilitate the achievement of the education for all right as stipulated in the Constitution without supplementary efforts from the public-private partnerships.

“The Government is currently investing 6.4 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product annually on education, which translates to Sh160 billion per year. The heavy investment is borne largely by Government and this calls for complementary efforts through public-private partnerships operationalised through the public private partnerships Act,” he said.

In his speech read by a representative from the ministry during the signing of a partnership agreement between the Kenya Commercial Bank and Western Union foundations to provide full secondary school scholarships to needy students, Kaimenyi said his ministry has however been enjoying close partnerships with some local corporations to support this initiative.

He cited success stories such as Equity bank’s Wings to Fly initiative, which has grown from over Sh4.3 billion to over Sh5.6 billion since its inception in 2010 and has supported nearly 7,300 poor but bright students access secondary education.

The CS also applauded the Jomo Kenyatta Foundation which since inception 46 years ago has helped more than 10,000 students pursue secondary education.

Improve economic

The partnership between KCB and Western Union brings on board a total of Sh17 million which will be used to boost secondary school scholarships. Since its start three years ago, the KCB Foundation has awarded scholarships and learning materials to over 800 public schools and students across the country.

Twenty more students will be added to this list in the coming year following the new partnership.

“To satisfy demand for scholarships and increase the number of students accessing secondary education, there is need to partner with like-minded organisations,” said KCB Foundation Chairperson Catherine Kola. She called on the Government to put in place measures to ensure public secondary school fees are within the reach of a larger majority of Kenyans.

She said many children have been able to access primary school education since the introduction of the free primary education but are unable to proceed to secondary schools due to poverty.

Richard Malcom, the vice president of Western Union, said education is a key pillar in economic development of any country.