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Huge turnout in Mandera as Form One admission kicks off countrywide

 Students await admission at Mandera Secondary School. [Ibrahim Adan Ali, Standard]

Schools in Mandera have witnessed huge turnouts as Form One admission kick-off countrywide.

Speaking to The Standard, Mandera County Director of Education Abdi Sheikh said there is a huge influx of students from neighbouring counties.

"Parents are taking advantage of the free Secondary Education in the county, including those residing outside Mandera," said Sheikh.

Governor Mohamed Kalif attributed the increase to the 'Elimu Kwa Wote initiative' which was launched in January 2023 to promote access to education in the county.

"This impactful programme has reached 24,973 students in 61 public secondary schools in Mandera County. In 2023 alone, 10,306 students from all 30 wards received bursaries, ensuring that financial constraints did not hinder their pursuit of knowledge," said Governor Kalif

While assuring parents of the program's continuity, Governor Kalif said his administration has allocated Sh810 million to sustain the initiative.

 A student arrives for admission to Mandera Secondary School. [Ibrahim Adan Ali, Standard]

"I am thrilled to share that the Mandera County Bursary Programme has benefited 165,648 individuals from its inception to the present moment, with a total budgetary allocation of Ksh 1,392,319,000 of which 810M was disbursed during my administration," said Kalif.

During the disbursement of the bursary in 2023, the county paid Sh350 million to cater for all the county secondary school fees.

This year, 2024, the county has announced that it is set to disburse a further Sh460 million.

A parent, Halima Hassan Abdi, said the initiative was a huge boost in ensuring access to education courtesy of the secondary fee waiver.

Abdi, whose four boys have been admitted to Mandera Secondary School, said he only catered for uniforms and other everyday essentials.

"I brought 4 children to study their secondary education at MSS free of charge. I bought for them uniforms, mattresses and other small things they will use in the boarding."

He added; "I thank God for the opportunity. I would not have afforded to pay their fee because I don't have anything remaining as I have lost all my livestock to the previous drought."

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