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Over 2,000 clinch ‘wings’ amid calls for more sponsors

By Moses Nyamori | February 6th 2016
President Uhuru Kenyatta, Equity Bank Board chairman Peter Munga (left) and the bank’s CEO James Mwangi with beneficiaries of the Equity Foundation’s Wings To Fly Scholarship programme in Nairobi yesterday.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has directed the Ministry of Education to form a board of trustees to manage bursaries and scholarships.

The President said this will streamline the many uncoordinated efforts in bursary provision.

“I direct the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology to establish a Board of Trustees that will be charged with coordinating all sponsors and philanthropists, for better and effective management of bursaries and scholarships,” he said.

The President spoke yesterday during a ceremony where some 2,907 bright but needy students were awarded secondary school scholarships by the Wings to Fly programme sponsored by Equity Bank.

The President, who was the chief guest, challenged the young beneficiaries to make good use of the scholarship.

The life-changing project is a partnership between the Equity Bank Foundation, MasterCard, United Agency International Development, and United Kingdom Agency for International Development.

This year, over 22,000 students applied for the scholarship but the programme could only take in 2,000 pupils.

“In light of these facts, I ask other organisations to emulate the Equity model, which commits substantial resources to service in the community, in particular, to helping disadvantaged students as part of giving back to the communities in which the corporations trade,” the President said.

Equity Bank CEO James Mwangi asked the government to fast-tract free secondary education to allow more bright but needy students access education.

Responding to this request, the President said his administration is working towards making both primary and secondary education “totally free”.

MasterCard Foundation donated Sh6.2 billion for phase two of the programme. About 34 per cent of the programme’s beneficiaries have scored grade A in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE), while 94 per cent get admission to university.

Also present, the United States Ambassador Robert Godec lauded the project saying every government has an obligation of helping its youth to acquire education.

Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i urged Kenyans to support the programme so as to give opportunity to more scholars.

Dr Matiang’i also reiterated that his Ministry is committed to achieving gender parity, and condemned forced early marriages to school-age children.

Students who have benefited from the programme expressed their gratitude and promised to work hard once they report to school.

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