Equity Group Foundation on Monday commissioned 1700 Wings To Fly scholars as they join various secondary schools across the country to further their education.
The Wings to Fly Program 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 is funded by The MasterCard Foundation with support from KfW and Equity Bank.
Education Cabinet Secretary Dr. Fred Matiang’i who presided over the commissioning 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.
‘’All 141 students who scored A plain in the 2016 KCSE will join Equity Bank for a paid internship before proceeding to university’’
The initiative, which offers comprehensive secondary school scholarships to academically gifted children from needy backgrounds has so far benefited 14,368 deserving students.
Dr. Matiang’i at the same time 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.
“These Programmes are a great inspiration for the furtherance of cooperation between the government and the private sector in our efforts to support the education pillar as enshrined in our economic blueprint, Vision 2030 as well as supporting the Sustainable Development Goals”. Dr. Matiang’i added.
Following the success of The Wings to Fly Program, many other companies have emulated Equity Group Foundation and have started similar programs to support local disadvantaged students who are academically gifted.
On his part, 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.
Many beneficiaries of The Wings to Fly Program are from low income backgrounds and went to little known schools before joining the program. Ahmed Salat, a male student who went to Dambas Primary School scored 393 marks to get a place in The Wings to fly Program before proceeding to Alliance High School and Duke University in Durham NC, under the program’s sponsorship.
Another beneficiary who was born in the slums, Samuel Kinuthia, narrates how his parents endured poverty as casual laborers as he struggled to secure himself a place in The Wings to Fly Program. In 2015, he scored the only A in Gatudu district under the sponsorship of the CDF. Kinuthia then applied for the highly selective Equity Leadership Program (ELP), which led to his acceptance at Cornell University in New York.
“We are encouraged by the performance of the Wings to Fly scholars. So far, four cohorts of Wings to Fly scholars totaling 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. The scholars have remained true to their commitment to work hard, excel in their studies as well as actively participate in problem solving through taking up leadership roles,’ Said Dr. Mwangi
At the commissioning, Reeta Roy, President & CEO, The MasterCard Foundation confirmed the continued support for the program and called upon the students to embrace the spirit of discipline, hard work and tolerance in order to be successful in life.
“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.” Said Reeta.
The Wings to Fly programme, continues to impact thousands of households in different parts of the country. The vision for the program is to provide a safety net that enhances transition of academically promising students from disadvantaged backgrounds, from primary to secondary level education and develop them into social transformational leaders of the future.