More than 9,000 secondary school students have this year benefitted from full scholarships courtesy of Elimu Scholarship Programme, a partnership between the government, World Bank and Equity Group Foundation.
Basic Education PS Julius Jwan said they are contacting successful candidates to ensure they all report to school.
In Thika sub-county, Kiambu, 119 students from informal settlements secured secondary school sponsorship through the scholarships.
Mr Sammy Karanu, a senior manager at Equity Bank, said they received more than 600 applications but could not sponsor all applicants.
Mr Karanu said the scheme will cater for fees, books, shopping, pocket money and uniform for the four years the beneficiaries will be in school.
Unlike Equity Bank’s Wings to Fly scholarships that target Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) candidates who score 350 marks and above, the cut-off mark for Elimu Scholarships is 280.
“We have a community selection advisory committee chaired by deputy county commissioners. The committees help to identify needy cases. Some of the students sponsored end up doing very well in KCSE exams,” Mr Karanu said on Thursday.
Thika Education director Maurice Sifuna urged those benefitting from the scholarships to work hard, “and remain disciplined to achieve academic excellence”.
Mr Sifuna added: “I hope to see all of them attaining grades that will take them to university. I call on parents to provide a conducive learning environment, especially during holidays.” Thika West deputy county commissioner Mbogo Mathioya said local students who have benefitted from the scholarships were selected from Gachagini, Kilimambogo, and Kiandutu slums.
“Most parents are unable to educate their children. Students drop out of school while in lower primary school due to lack of school fees,” said Mr Mathioya.
He said the scholarships are part of the government’s efforts to ensure 100 per cent transition from primary to secondary school.
Another 20 students from Gatanga also benefitted from the scholarships. They received their letters during a ceremony held in Thika town.