Bungoma County has rolled out a sh40 million project to support bright and needy students in both national and extra county schools. An initiative of the county’s second Governor Wycliffe Wangamati, the scholarship programme is in its second year running.
This year, a maximum of eight students in each of the county’s 45 wards were picked for the scholarship award out of a total of 865 applications. Besides being needy, beneficiaries also scored a minimum of 350 marks in KCPE and were admitted either in national or extra county schools.
Applications for scholarships commenced immediately at the ward level after release of KCPE results and ran up to December 24, 2018. The vetting was undertaken at the wards where students were scored for need and vulnerability. In the vetting process, priority was given to orphans and students whose parents were evidently needy.
Another 400 continuing students, now in form 2 in national and extra county schools, were also awarded scholarships after a fresh vetting exercise that saw 23 students dropped for ineligibility. Another 42 were awarded but cautioned for poor academic performance.
The scholarship scheme is part of Governor Wangamati’s push to ensure that no child from the county misses out on their school of choice on account of fees.
On assuming office in 2017, Governor Wangamati increased the bursary and scholarship fund from sh180 million to sh400 million. “This is the only way to lift our people out of the vicious cycle of poverty,” he told the county assembly when he sought clearance to perk up the fund.
From the fund, about 1,000 needy students from each of the 45 wards or 45,000 students across the county are each awarded a minimum of sh10, 000 for those in boarding county schools and sh5, 000 towards a feeding programme for those in day schools.
Applications for bursary is ongoing up to January 15, 2019.
Speaking at the unveiling of the scholarship beneficiaries at the head office in Bungoma, Governor Wangamati said besides awarding scholarships, the county will also institute annual mentoring sessions through which all scholarship beneficiaries will be taken through character building, leadership and life skills, career guidance as well role modeling. He called on the beneficiaries to apply themselves to community service like volunteering, take up leadership positions in school and participate in co-curricular activities in their respective schools.
The governor also called on the community and especially to the corporate world to partner with the county to ensure more students benefit.