Bungoma launches university students foundation
BUNGOMA COUNTY. University students from Bungoma county who have had challenges with paying their fees shall now have a reason to smile all the way to the universities to pursue their courses after a University Students Education Foundation was launched to source for funds for such needy students.
Speaking during the launch held at the KIE grounds within Bungoma county, governor Ken Lusaka said that higher education in Kenya is expensive and thus many families cannot afford it leading to low transition rate from high school to middle-level colleges or universities.
“Higher education today in Kenya particularly in universities is very expensive and we know that hence many families cannot afford it and larger population of people in Bungoma county live below the poverty line,” said the governor.
He noted that the drop-out rate is very high with a large number of students who graduate from form four vanishing in thin air as many cannot manage to join colleges and universities due to various reasons.
Lusaka said that out of 45,000 students who graduate from form four in Bungoma county, only 9 per cent join higher learning institutions due to various challenges including inability to raise fees.
“In Bungoma county there are 800 primary schools and over 200 secondary schools and therefore every year an average of 45,000 students graduate from secondary schools in this county every year but only 9 per cent are able to join various universities and tertiary colleges and hence a large majority of form four leavers are unable to further their education due to a number of reasons,” Lusaka noted.
He therefore lauded the launching of the foundation which he said shall network with local and international partners to raise funds and other support to achieve the agenda of improving on educational standards in the county and other objectives.
County to support the foundation
“What we are starting today, people may not know it is going to grow into a big thing and I would like to assure you that as a county government you can count on us in supporting the foundation because we have already discussed with the CEC for education and other relevant departments that we are going to allocate money into this foundation,” he added.
He said that the foundation shall also assist in improving the transition from one level of education to another especially from secondary to university or tertiary colleges.
In addition the governor revealed that his government is also committed in improving the quality of education in the county through the bursary education fund that ensures needy and poor students do not miss their education due to lack of school fees.
The county government also has improved infrastructure in all the 86 vocational training centers where equipment has also been bought to provide employable skills in various fields to enable the youths fully participate in the county and national development.
“The county government has come up with various initiatives including youth empowerment funds to provide capital to the youths with good entrepreneur ideas to pursue their dreams among other initiatives,” Lusaka revealed.
On her part the county executive committee member for education Beryl Mutekhele urged the stakeholders in the county to support the newly formed foundation to make it big and achieve its objectives.
“I take this opportunity to call upon all stakeholders ranging from parents, educationists among others including the Mama Mboga and anybody else to contribute towards the growth of this foundation,” said Mutekhele.
Kibabii University vice chancellor Professor Isaac Ipara acknowledged that many University students are facing challenges in education especially raising fees bearing in mind that a big percentage of students at the institutions are needy.
“Students at the universities now are undergoing their education in very difficult conditions basing on research that we did at Kibabii indicating that 15 per cent of our students are needy including those partial and total orphans hence I support this idea of the formation of students foundation because it shall help alleviate some of the challenges facing the students who are supposed to learn under conducive environment as their prepare to become intellectuals,” said the Vice Chencellor.
Governor Lusaka is expected to lead a funds drive for the students under the foundation at a later date after the exercise of raising the funds on the same day was called off due to the other commitments that the cabinet secretary for education and ICT Dr. Fred Matiang’I was engaged in and hence could not turn up to lead the fundraiser.
However the stakeholders who attended the ceremony raised Kshs 410,000 in cash and pledges in a short exercise led by Lusaka.