Equity Group Foundation has today commissioned 1700 Wings To Fly scholars as they join various secondary schools across the country to further their education.
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 is funded by The MasterCard Foundation in collaboration with 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 recognize 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 initiative by Equity Group Foundation and The MasterCard Foundation with additional financial support by other Wings to Fly partners, 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.
At the same time, 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.
Dr Matiang’i says that the 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.
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. Indeed many other corporate institutions have followed in Equity Group Foundation’s footsteps and come up to support the education of underprivileged and disadvantaged students from many areas within the country.
Dr. Matiang’i also implored upon the beneficiaries to make good use of the opportunity accorded to them, and ensure smooth completion of their studies with a view of transforming their lives as well as those of the community and nation at large.
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.
“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 percent completion rate. 5476 have attained university entry qualifications, being an 85 percent 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,’ added Dr Mwangi
At the same time, 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 recognize the importance of education as part of socio-economic development.”
On the other hand, the German Government through KFW, also reassured Wings To Fly students of its continued support as it implored on students who do not make it at the university to take advantage of technical courses:
“We have supported the Wings To Fly program because we believe in its net effect on social economic development. We will be supporting 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,” said Dr. Klaus Liebig, Director KWF.
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.