Education: Half a billion dollar scholarships for SSA countries
03 October 2014, 23:01
Nairobi - Kenyan students interested in pursuing their higher education in accredited universities in the US are set to become beneficiaries of half a billion full scholarships fund courtesy of the non-academic institution, the Master Card Foundation set for countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, America Embassy in Nairobi Education Advisor Faith Biko has said.
Addressing over 100 students drawn from various schools in Nakuru taken through on how to competitively apply for scholarships in the US universities at the Nakuru National Library, Faith said the efforts are geared towards increasing the number of beneficiaries after witnessed declined number of applicants in recent past leading to returned money by universities and interested organizations.
Through Education USA, a programme supported by the department of states and the American Embassy, Biko said the efforts seeks to bridge the gap shortage of special skills in the country’s education sector by admitting interested Kenyan young scholars to study special courses such as software engineering in the US and later required to come back and feel the gap.
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“When we look at where Kenya is headed to, we are looking at Vision 2030 and we realize that there are skills that we do not have and yet those skills are available in the US universities. What we are trying to do is to get students who are interested in learning for instance software engineering encourages them to go to the US, study then come back the they are going to fill that skills gap,” said Biko.
She says US scholarships regulations require beneficiaries to complete their studies, come back to their respective countries and invest their knowledge.
Kenya has for decades bore the brunt of brain drain, especially in the medical sector where young Kenyans going to study abroad decide to work there.
And Kenya, despite having about 40 universities, education ministry still grapples with the number of students in need of university education exceeding the available institutions, and the initiative, Biko says, would help in bridging the gap.
In a bid to curb the menace, Kenya through its education ministry is seeking sh750 million towards establishing Kenya’s first open, distance and e-learning university.
Currently, Kenya has over 3500 students scattered across 4,700 undergraduate accredited universities and over 1,700 students’ graduate (masters and PhD) universities in the US.On his part, Henry Mendelsohn, Regional Information Resource Officer at the American Embassy in Nairobi says the US Embassy has already donated over 3000 books and audio visual materials and 15 new computers where beneficiaries will access the e-library USA to the Nakuru National Library.
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