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West Pokot unveils Sh300million bursary kitty

By Joylene Singoei | February 2nd 2019

Education is a great liberator that grants an individual a platform to balance wheel of social machinery.

Many people have through education, changed their life fortunes. For several decades, West Pokot has been categorised among regions with soaring levels of illiteracy projected to be at 67%. Retrogressive cultural practices, few and ill-equipped schools are some of the challenges hindering access to quality education.

It is for this reason that Governor John Lonyangapuo’s manifesto is anchored on education as one of its key pillars and receives lion share in county’s budgetary allocation.

On Monday this week, Governor Lonyangapuo unveiled the second phase of bursary kitty worth Sh300 million at St Theresa’s Girls’ High School-Tartar. The funds, will benefit 23, 706 students from Form Two to Form Four. Form Ones will get their bursaries in Second Term to give them additional time to enroll and settle in school so that accurate data is captured. Ortum Boys High School, which has a big number of students from West Pokot, received a Sh8.7million cheque. All students from the county benefit from the kitty with the needy and vulnerable getting a higher allocation.

Since the inaugural disbursement in 2018, schools have registered a sharp increase in enrolment and retainment as it eases the burden of school fees among parents and guardians. The bursary fund is one of the measures put in place by the county government to increase access to education thus boosting the literacy levels.

To cater for regions which lagged behind due to incessant border conflicts, the county government is constructing model peace border schools with Akulo, Katikomor and Kanyerus schools at an advanced stage. The three schools are expected to start enrolling pupils next year and will bring together pupils from different communities to cement peace initiatives. Education remains a long lasting solution to border insecurities as it empowers individuals to get alternative sources of livelihood other than pastoralism which has brewed conflicts due to limited grazing fields and scarce sources of water.

Other measures initiated to fight illiteracy include revamping Adult Education programme where 300 teachers were recruited to teach in 300 centres countywide.

This entails teaching of basic literacy skills of reading, writing and counting. The programme has recorded big numbers of adults thirsting for education at the interior areas where illiteracy is very high. The county’s 300 centres supplement 55 centres run by the national government with demand still high.

In yet another elaborate measure to ensure access to education, 257 Early Childhood Education (ECDE) classrooms were constructed and completed across the county last year. The classrooms have assisted in absorbing an increasing number of pupils after a school feeding programme was rolled out in 2018 in all the 1080 ECDE centres.

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