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Co-op Bank Scholarships: Giving Thousands a New Leaf of Life

Co-operative Bank Foundation was launched in the year 2007 and has since supported over 9,000 students

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In a country where inequality in education remains a major barrier to individual success, organisations are increasingly taking up the role of helping children from poor backgrounds through the education system. This is because good education – from primary through to college – plays a critical role in improving incomes, employment and enterprise opportunities.

Co-operative Bank of Kenya is among organizations leading in promoting education through scholarships. Through the Co-operative Bank Foundation, the bank has made educational dreams come true for thousands of bright but less privileged children with difficulties in paying school fees for secondary and university education. The foundation runs a highly successful education scholarship scheme, which has so far touched the lives of more than 9,000 students.

Despite the fact that primary school education is compulsory and free with secondary education being highly subsidized, children from disadvantaged backgrounds continue to miss school due to financial or academic constraints. The transition from primary school to secondary school is never assured for many with a marked overall dropout of about 40%, mostly among poor households.

Kenya has made progress over the past few decades in making higher education more accessible. However, disparities persist in student access to colleges and universities. These disparities limit work and life opportunities for needy students.

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“A good education is critical to improving income, employment and enterprise opportunities. Lack of a good educational foundation leads to disparities which limit work and life opportunities for the needy,” the bank notes.

Co-operative Bank Foundation was launched in the year 2007 and has since supported 9,023 students. This year, the foundation has given out 655 scholarships to pupils who completed their primary education but were unable to pursue secondary education due to financial constraints. Out of this new intake, 420 were awarded by the bank’s Regional Delegates’ Forums and the rest, 235 scholarships, were awarded by the 47 County Governments, five from each. The scholarship caters for tuition, school uniform and books.

The foundation offers 28 university scholarships to the top-performing students every year. Other than tuition and accommodation, the students are offered opportunities for internships to work in the bank and for community service.

Co-operative Bank says it is keen to channel more funds into its education scholarship programme to reach mores beneficiaries. “We are focused on sustaining the programme in the long-term. Unless corporate institutions and everyone of goodwill come together to support initiatives within the education sector, brilliant but needy Kenyans will never realise their full potential,” Co-op Bank Group Managing Director and CEO Dr Gideon Muriuki says.

According to Dr Muriuki, a large number of Kenyans currently holding positions of responsibility were educated with loans from the Co-operative movement. “It is for this reason that the Co-operative Bank, being the premier co-operative institution in Kenya, has taken the lead in this area,” he notes.

Co-op bank scholarship impact

  • 9023 students have been supported through Secondary Education since the inception of the program
  • 655 Secondary School Students are currently being supported
  • 482 students have been supported through university since inception of the program
  • 56 students have been supported through the Co-operative Bank University Scholarship Programme.
  • 16 University students currently participating in Vocational Internships at Co-operative Bank

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KALU MENGOhttp://www.businesstoday.co.ke
Kalu Mengo is a Senior Reporter With Business Today. Email: [email protected]
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