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Ministry officials, not politicians, should take charge of bursary funds

OPINION
By Agumba Ndaloh | September 3rd 2021
Parents during the launch of the National Government Constituency Development Fund Day School Bursary programme.[Kipsang Joseph, Standard ]

The dust has now settled on Form One admissions. We should, however, revisit the issue of bursaries awarded to children from disadvantaged families.

This remains an eyesore to our national psyche, yet we are witnesses, directly or in-directly, to how those in authorities are using public funds in the name of bursary to fleece the less fortunate.

It defeats logic why a Kenyan child should trek for kilometres to plead to be admitted to a public school by the head teacher.

Where are our excellencies and honourables while this is happening? Why can’t feel ashamed by all these? The poor in the community are well known. Leaders do not need magic to identify them and administer the necessary help.

It’s unfortunate that many who win (or are they given?) the bursaries from public sources are either undeserving or if they are, just get a trickle of what constitutes their fees. 

I wish we could borrow a leaf from privately run bursaries and scholarships such as those managed by financial institutions. The one run by Equity Bank is a shining armour in this area. It has spread in the whole country and has an airtight way of identifying the beneficiaries.

How I pray for more banks to join Equity, Kenya Commercial and Cooperative banks and Mwalimu National Sacco in issuing scholarships to needy post-primary learners as one of their community outreach services.

But to expect some of our elected leaders to emulate these banking institutions and other like-minded ones, is to expect too much.

Corrupt, indolent, nepotistic, showy and short-sighted politician have never been known to operate above board. Nothing good can come from him or her to the advantage of the people whom he or she pretends to love, yet in truth treats with contempt.

It’s however time we took charge of our destiny and stopped the politicians in their tracks. The point to begin is on the circus that is the bursary at constituency and the county level.

The wanton misuse of bursary funds should be brought to its waterloo. We should be aghast at the way waheshimiwa have treated the issue of bursaries. Every ounce of our energy should be directed at stopping the pilferage of public funds in this dimension.

There is no better way of doing this than centralising these funds. Let the Ministry of Education be in charge of bursaries for post–primary learners. The ministry, working with that of the Interior and National Cohesion, has the wherewithal to identify needy children. This can be done by head teachers and the officers from Interior ministry at the grassroots level.

If this can be done, every child of schoolgoing age who is to transit to the secondary level will benefit and proceed to Form One.

Some of those who perform dismally do so because of harsh conditions at home brought by poverty and its related effects.

It is also time more private players, both institutions and individuals, assisted needy post-primary children to proceed with their education.

 

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