Equity Group Foundation has today commissioned 1700 Wings To Fly scholars as they join various secondary schools across the country to further their education with support from The MasterCard Foundation and KfW and Equity Bank.
Presiding over the commissioning of the Wings To Fly, Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Fred Matiangi hailed the program for playing a critical role in supplementing the government’s efforts in providing education for all:
“The Wings To Fly program has transformed many lives since its inception and as a government we recognise the complementary role this program has played to support us to educate needy and bright students. As a result, we will be looking at ways of strengthening our partnership under the new policy framework,” said Dr. Matiangi.
The Wings to Fly Program, which has so far benefited 14,368 deserving students, will see the eighth cohort of 1,700 students this year get full sponsorship for the four years of study in various secondary schools that they have been selected to join across the country. The 2017 Wings to Fly class offers comprehensive secondary school scholarships to academically gifted children from needy backgrounds which covers: tuition fees, books, school uniform, accommodation, pocket money, transport costs among other expenses.
Dr. Matiang’i also launched the 2017 Equity Bank Paid Pre-University Internship Program for the 2016 Wings to Fly graduates who scored an A and A- (minus). The Equity Bank Paid Pre-University Internship Program enables the scholars to pay for their University Education while undergoing leadership, coaching and mentoring. This year 569 Scholars will join the Program.
They comprise of 286 scholars from the Wings to Fly program and 150 top boy and girl from each district in Kenya where Equity has a branch, who attained a minimum score of A-. Equity Bank also extended an exceptional opportunity to all the 141 students who scored an A plain in the KCSE exams in 2016 nationally (of which 8 are Wings to Fly scholars) to join the program. This will bring the total number of scholars who have benefitted from the Equity Bank Paid Internship to 5,059.
The Wings to Fly Programme has inspired other organizations in Kenya to start their own scholarship programmes targeting academically gifted children who are economically and socially challenged. Equity Group Foundation Executive Chairman, Dr. James Mwangi reiterated that there are many needy students who require the necessary support in order for them to pursue their dreams.
“This year alone, we received over 25,000 applications from students who are unable to afford secondary school but were only able to award 1,700 scholarships. Although we strive to offer opportunities to the most deserving cases, we still feel that there is need for more collaboration between various stakeholders to achieve the dream of universal quality education in the country,” Dr. Mwangi said.
According to Reeta Roy, President & CEO, The MasterCard Foundation, “The MasterCard Foundation is impressed with the transformation of lives through Wings To Fly and we will continue to give our support to this program. We believe through our partnership many students will have an opportunity to change their lives and their communities. We recognise the importance of education as part of socio-economic development.”
The German Government through KFW said it will support students from Wings To Fly who have not attained the grades to make it to universities to access tertiary and technical universities to further their studies.
So far, four cohorts of Wings to Fly scholars totalling 6441 scholars have gone through secondary school with a 98% completion rate. 5476 have attained university entry qualifications, being an 85 % transition rate. Out of these, 2,343 have joined the Equity Bank Paid Pre-University Internship Program (Equity Leadership Program-ELP) and benefited from paid internships in Equity Bank before proceeding for their university studies.