Equity Group’s airlift to global universities has reached 329 scholars with a total scholarship value of Kshs 8.225 billion (USD 82.25 million). 64 of them are from the 2016 airlift and have set off to their respective universities in different parts of the world.
The 64 scholars are part of the 605 scholars earlier selected to join the ELP in 2015, having excelled as scholars in the Wings to Fly Programme in KCSE the previous year.
The ELP program has started recording an increase in the number of scholars gaining admission to global university annually with 2015 and 2016 accounting for 129 admissions after benefiting from the MasterCard Global Scholarship fund of US $ 500 million launched in 2014.
Its a transition pre-university programme from the successful Wings To Fly Secondary School Scholarship Program for bright gifted but financially challenged children executed by Equity Group in partnership with The MasterCard Foundation with support of USAID, UKAID and Kfw
The Wings To Fly secondary school program has so far benefited 12,377students at a cost of over Kshs 12 billion (US$120 million) of in comprehensive secondary school scholarship that cover their tuition, pocket money, transport, uniform and annual congress.
To date 3,400 students have completed their secondary school education while close to 9,000 are still in secondary school.
Speaking from Equity Centre at a ceremony to see off the class of 2016 scholars Equity Group CEO and Executive Chairman of Equity Group Foundation Dr. James Mwangi advised the scholars to remain true to their mission abroad, which is academic pursuit, leadership training, networking and global exposure. He reminded them that they had earned themselves the opportunity to study alongside the best brains in the world.
“Be proud of your identity and your roots. You will be differentiated by your values, culture and belief systems. You will meet and interact with other global citizens from different cultures and socializations. Always remember that they are not necessarily better than you, they are just different. Be quick to discern good and progressive attributes that will enrich your life and embrace them, while consciously avoiding bad influence that can compromise the purpose of your mission abroad. Wear your Kenyan and African identity with pride. Make your home country and your continent proud among the nations that you will meet, interact and compete with”
He said that the Equity Leaders Programme has now supported 3,405 scholars since inception with the number of those studying abroad as of this year, reaching 329 scholars from all over the country. 90% of the ELP Scholars access local public universities while 10% are assisted to gain admission in global leading universities so that they get global experience and exposure.
The scholars are exposed and have an opportunity to build global networks and experiences , so that their training and learning, personal life and professional experiences and future goals will be aligned to their society and community goals and will help to transform education and promote social economic transformation of our country. The ELP programme is in line with Kenya’s Vision 2030 of transforming Kenya into a globally competitive middle income economy by the year 2030.
“Kenya’s main potential lies in its people – their capacity, creativity, work ethic, education, knowledge, wisdom and entrepreneurial spirit and resilience. To ensure significant and consistent results, the human resources must be guided to develop global competitiveness. To be successful in developing competitiveness, the capacity to utilise knowledge and information must be at the global level. These scholars are the Vision 2030 generation. They will gain global experience and exposure and will bring those skills and competitiveness back to Kenya and support in its journey of achieving Vision 2030,” said Dr Mwangi.
To date, more than 1,029 beneficiaries are gainfully employed in leadership positions across the world and others pursuing their post-graduate studies. More than 2,376 ELP scholars are still pursuing their undergraduate degrees and will soon be graduating in various disciplines in local and international universities.
The Equity Leaders Programme also offers a paid internship programme at the Bank. It is anchored as an advanced leadership development initiative which selects the top Wings to Fly scholars who attain grade ‘A’ as well as the top boy and top girl in the KCSE exams from all the counties, to develop them into world-class leaders.
The students attend a three-week boot camp run by the alumni of the ELP College Counseling Programme while on summer holidays from their respective universities. The mentoring involves coaching training and preparing scholars to apply for entry examinations to universities of their choice. It also includes inducting and preparing those admitted for college life abroad.
As a way of giving back, the ELP scholars engage in mentorship activities to high school students, a gesture which has seen remarkable improvement in many public schools’ performance. The scholars also run initiatives that impact and benefit the immediate communities through charity and volunteering.
This year, of the 64 ELP scholars set to join global universities, 53 Scholars will be pursuing their undergraduate studies, 8 Scholars will be pursuing their postgraduate studies, and 3 Scholars will be pursuing their post-secondary diploma at the African Leadership Academy.
Some of the top schools that they will be joining this year include Princeton, Yale, Amherst, Duke, MIT, University of California Berkeley, University of Pennsylvania, Columbia University, University of Toronto, Michigan State University, University of Leeds, Edinburg university, Carnegie Mellon university (in Rwanda) among others.