Leaders Call For Harmonization Of Bursary Funds To Curb Duplication

Meru County leaders want the national government to harmonise the issuance of bursary funds to curb duplication and ghost applicants. Speaking during the launch of the National Government Affirmative Action Funds (NGAAF) in Meru town, North Imenti MP Rahim Dawood and Meru Woman Representative Elizabeth Kailemia said all the bursaries should be consolidated and managed by the Ministry of Education since they were all meant to help needy school-going Kenyans. They argued that the Ministry has the details of all the learners and knows deserving cases better than anybody else including politicians who were at the moment handling them. 'All the data about the learners should be consolidated in a pool from where bursaries will be issued instead of having multiple sources. Bursaries from the MCAs, governors, MPs, and Jomo Kenyatta Foundation among others should be centralized to avoid duplication where some students are getting more than three bursaries while others miss out on the funding,' said Dawood. He reg retted that there were cases of ghost students where bursaries were issued to non-existing learners only for the funds to end up in the pockets of a few corrupt officials. He said in some cases, the funds don't get to the students, leading to school dropouts, noting that some learners from rich families are getting up to Sh500,000 while the deserving cases got nothing. 'We don't want any child in Meru to be sent home due to lack of fees because every needy child is entitled to a bursary to keep him or her in school,' said Mr. Dawood. He called on the government to make secondary education free to make a 100 percent transition from primary to secondary school level effective. Supporting the sentiments, Ms. Kailemia regretted that the duplication of bursaries has forced many needy students to drop out of school due to lack of fees. She said the issuance of bursary funds should be done by the Ministry of Education where chiefs and school heads will be involved since they know the most deserving cases. 'I u rge the church and other well-wishers to intervene by buying uniforms and other items for needy children to lessen the burden on the parents,' appealed Ms Kailema. She appealed to the government to increase the amount of bursary funds given to women representatives across the country noting that they don't meet their target as many students need help, especially during these tough economic times yet they are allocated only Sh12 million annually. 'A meager Sh12 million cannot do anything, especially in Meru County where we have nine constituencies.' In the future the government should come up with a way of increasing the allocation or even giving special consideration to vast counties,' said Ms. Kailemia. Source: Kenya News Agency