The scramble for 9,000 scholarships for top KCPE performers from poor families has started with details of applications and criteria of allocation released.
Only candidates who scored 280 marks and above and come from poor backgrounds will qualify for the scholarships, which seeks to pay their full fees for the next four years.
There will also be merited cases for consideration under affirmative action for those who have lesser marks if the candidates are orphans, come from vulnerable communities or are living with special needs and disabilities.
The applications process will see some 879, 208 candidates, who scored 200 marks and above and meet the stated criteria compete for the few available slots.
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The scholarship programme is part of the Kenya Secondary Education Quality Improvement Project (SEQIP) being implemented by the Ministry of Education to boost retention in upper primary school and transition to secondary school of poor and vulnerable students.
The ministry identified the Equity Group Foundation (EGF) as the Partner Agency to design and support the implementation of the Elimu Scholarship Programme.
Education CS George Magoha said reports from all public schools show the 2019 KCPE candidates, who benefitted from the programme, are doing exceptionally well in the schools they went to.
Details of the Elimu Scholarship Programme, show that candidates with special needs and disabilities (physical, hearing and visual impairments, autism, albinism, learning disabilities and others) will be considered.
Orphans and vulnerable children, candidates from vulnerable communities in the target sub-counties and from urban centres with informal settlements will also be given a chance.
Also to qualify for the scholarships are candidates whose parents/guardians are living with disabilities that have compromised their ability to meet their children’s financial obligations.
Candidates whose families are affected by extreme poverty and have no resources to pay for their education will also be eligible.
Also to be considered are candidates whose families are affected by HIV and Aids and other chronic illnesses with debilitating effects that could render their parents and guardians destitute and unable to fend for their families.
The programme is also open to those who suffered from neglect, abuse and have no support to continue with their education.
Only candidates who meet the above criteria and come from the selected 110 Sub-Counties (see separate list) and the 15 urban centres with informal settlements will be eligible to apply.
Targeted urban centers include Thika, Nairobi, Eldoret, Nakuru, Mombasa, Kisumu, Garissa, Embu, Nyeri, Machakos, Kitui, Kericho, Kilii, Naivasha and Kakamega.
Ministry of Education has advised candidates interested in the programme to collect application forms from the Equity Bank branches or Equity agents.
“Application forms can also be downloaded from the Ministry of Education and Equity Group Foundation websites; www.education.go.ke and https://egfdmis.equitybank.co.ke/register_elimu.”
Completed application forms and supporting documents should be submitted to the nearest Equity Bank Branch by May 31,’ the ministry advised.
Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interviews to be conducted by the Community Scholarship Advisory Committees.
Out of the 9,000 beneficiaries, 6,750 are allocated to the learners from the targeted sub-counties while the remaining 2,250 opportunities will go to the learners from informal settlements.
Last year, the Ministry of Education and the Equity Group Foundation (EGF) received 37,928 applications.
Out of 21,471 applications that were received from 110 targeted Sub-Counties, 9,517 were from the informal settlements and 6,940 from non-targeted counties. The programme has scholarship, mentorship, social support and gender sensitisation.
Candidates picked for the programme will have their fees paid for the entire secondary education programme. They will also receive a stipend to cover transport to and from school, pocket money and other school kits.
The mentoring support is aimed at helping the candidates cope with schooling and other social challenges.
“Mentorship would be done both at the community and at the school levels through school-based coaching and peer support programs and mentorship forum at regional and national levels,” reads the report.