The National Council for Persons Living with Disabilities (NCPLWD) has urged the Equity Foundation to set aside five per cent of its Wings to Fly scholarships to students with disabilities.
Speaking in Narok, the council chair Dr. David Sankok said this is one way of promoting affirmative action for persons living with disabilities.
Sankok said many bright students living with disabilities have dropped out of school after failing to raise the required school fees and this affirmative action move would go a long way assisting such needy students.
“The failure to award the disabled scholarships is part of the discrimination that the disabled persons face in the society. There is need to empower this group so as to positively contribute to the nation building,” said Sankok.
He maintained that his council has in its data bank names of students living with disabilities who are needy and have excelled in the just released Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examinations and was ready to avail this information to the Foundation if so required.
The Chairman also called on the Safaricom Foundation, KCB Foundation and other institutions that offer scholarships to set a given percentage for the disabled persons.
“As a council we want the rights of the disabled persons to be respected because this is a group that is very vulnerable but productive to the country’s economy. We welcome efforts by organizations, banks and even county governments that seek to promote the rights of the disabled people as enshrined in the Constitution,” said Sankok.
He said learners with disability have not benefited from Free Primary and Secondary Education in the country as most schools have not been fitted with facilities for this group of learners.
He stated that the increase in the number of Special Needs in Education (SNE) candidates who sat for the KCPE exam should be ensured for them to transit to secondary schools.
Sankok noted that 2,118 SNE candidates sat for the last year`s KCPE exam up from 2,097 in 2014.Equity Bank is offering 2,000 scholarships to needy students who sat for KCPE and scored over 350 marks across the country and NCPWD observes that this vulnerable group is often forgotten in granting these scholarships .
The program is open for eligible students who should send their applications from December 30, 2015 to January 6, 2016. Those who will be short-listed for the scholarships will be invited for interviews, which will be conducted by the Equity Group Foundation Regional Scholarship Selection Board (RSSB).
“We encourage the potential applicants, as soon as the results are announced to present themselves to the nearest Equity Bank Branch or Equity Agent with their KCPE result slips and a letter of introduction from their respective headteachers confirming their results for them to be issued with the scholarships application forms,” the foundation’s Managing Director Hellen Gichohi said.
The comprehensive secondary school scholarships under the Wings to Fly program are designed to provide financial, mentoring and related relief to academic achievers from financially constrained backgrounds who would otherwise not afford to join secondary school without financial support.
By Mabel Keya – Shikuku