Education CS Fred Matiang’i with one of the beneficiaries of the Equity Bank and Mastercard Wings to Fly scholarships programme at Kenyatta University on January 4, 2018. PHOTO | MARY WAMBUI | NATION MEDIA GROUP
587 top students given this year’s ‘wings to fly’ scholarships
Some 587 beneficiaries of Equity Bank and Mastercard foundations Wings to Fly programme were on Thursday commissioned to begin their secondary education in various schools across the country at a colourful event graced by Cabinet Secretaries Fred Matiang’i and Eugene Wamalwa, and Kenyan born Australian senator Lucy Gichuhi at Kenyatta University.
The annual programme ensures top performing children from financially challenged backgrounds in all counties across Kenya attain secondary school education.
This year, however, the number of beneficiaries reduced. This has been blamed on the lack of support from the USAID.
During the event, Equity Group CEO James Mwangi thanked the government for rolling out free secondary education, saying this will complement the programme’s efforts in ensuring that needy students gain access to secondary education.
“The Wings to Fly scholarships are not always adequate to cater for all deserving students who apply, a majority of them qualified to join national schools. The new opportunities afforded by the free secondary education will go a long way in supporting students who otherwise would have missed the opportunity due to financial challenges. Our hope is that the free day schools will maintain high quality education similar to what the scholars would have accessed if they had the financial ability to join national schools,” said Dr Mwangi.
Kenyan born Australian Senator Lucy Gichuhi and her husband, William Gichuhi at Kenyatta University on January 4, 2018. PHOTO | MARY WAMBUI | NATION MEDIA GROUP
The programme has, for the last eight years, been receiving between 20,000 and 30,000 applications with only about 15,000 students getting the scholarships.
“The Wings to Fly spirit has compelled most elected leaders, corporate sectors and players in the oil industry to pick a majority of the ones we left out after setting up similar programmes to help address the plight of the needy students. However, much still needs to be done and we applaud the efforts of the government to roll out free secondary education which means that those who missed out on our scholarships can enrol in free secondary schools and continue with their education,” said Dr Mwangi.
Senator Gichuhi, originally from Nyeri County, sought to inspire the young people with her story on how she rose to become a senator in Australia.
The 2018 intake has seen the number of Equity Leaders Programme scholars rise to 19,260. About 10,920 of these scholars who have completed secondary education have secured admissions to local universities, while 443 of them have joined global universities.