Budalangi National Government Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF) Committee has, over the years, spent a bigger chunk of its CDF kitty on education which is an equalizer and the key to a better future.
Several high-rise educational infrastructures translating into millions of cash have been set up by the committee in various parts of the constituency.
The developments have brought education closer to the students who had initially been trekking long distances to attend schools in a neighboring county.
Addressing parents, school heads, area administration and other education stakeholders during the issuance of education bursary cheques totaling over KSh33million to needy students in the constituency at Budalangi trading center recently, area Member of Parliament Raphael Wanjala underscored the importance of education as a worthy investment.
Education as first priority
He emphasized that apart from other development initiatives being undertaken in Bunyala Sub-County, Budalangi NG-CDF committee will continue to give education first priority every financial year.
This would ensure all needy students from the constituency acquire affordable education.
“As area MP I will ensure all needy students from the Sub-County who apply are given education bursary without biasness,” said Wanjala.
He urged the students to use the opportunity and put more effort in their studies.
The MP also cautioned the students against abusing drugs, whose effects would interfere with their lives and even cause mental disorders.
“Don’t be tempted to engage in drugs and substance abuse if you want your brain to function effectively,” said Wanjala.
Expulsion of students
Bunyala Sub-County Director of Education, George Owuoche, said the government is implementing an ambitious program dubbed Secondary Education Quality Improvement concerned with constructing additional infrastructure in schools to ease a 100 percent transition.
He said the program would also help curb overcrowding in both secondary and public primary schools, which is currently troubling schools.
He commended respective secondary school heads and teachers for their commitment and dedication to duty, which has seen 1,068 students from the Sub-County qualifying to join the university this financial year.
Owuoche, however, cautioned secondary school heads against sending students home for fees at a time when they are supposed to be in school.
He said the respective school boards of management should put in place a modality that would enable them to ensure parents pay outstanding fee balances rather than sending the students home at the expense of education.
“The boards of management and parents, teachers association should find a way of resolving the fee issue in collaboration with parents,” he said.
He also cautioned those engaging school children in child labor at the expense of education, saying stern legal action would be taken against them.
“Child labour has been denying our children an opportunity to learn, so those involved in the vice risk being punished in accordance with the law,” said Owuoche.
He added that a crackdown will be done soon along River Nzoia and along the shores of Lake Victoria in Port Victoria Town, where it is alleged a big number of school children are engaging in sand harvesting and washing of fishing nets instead of going to school.
According to Budalangi constituency’s bursary allocation data for FY 2022/2023, secondary schools received a total disbursement of KSh22.5 million; tertiary institutions got KSh 9 million, whereas special schools received an allocation of Ksh1.5 million, totaling to KSh33 million.
Out of 8,567 students that had benefited from the bursary allocation, 6,204 students from local secondary schools received a total of KSh21.7 million, 168 students in national schools got a total of KSh0.8 million with 1046 students in colleges receiving a total allocation of KSh3.6 million.
Others included 1068 students in universities, who got an education bursary to the tune of Ksh5.3 million, with 81 students in special schools getting a bursary allocation of KSh0.5 million.
The CDF committee had also reserved a total of KSh1 million bursary allocation for students joining the various technical and vocational training (TVETs) institutions across the county.
The bursary allocation data further shows that out of Budalangi constituency’s four administrative wards, Bunyala North ward received the highest bursary allocation of KSh11 million that catered for 2955 needy students in secondary schools, national schools, colleges, universities, as well as special schools, out of which 1,474 were girls and 1,481 boys.
This was seconded by Bunyala West ward, which got a bursary allocation to the tune of sh9.6million disbursed to a total of 2,601, followed by Bunyala South ward at KSh6.8 million that was disbursed to a total of 1,814 student.
It is worth noting that despite persistent flooding that has always disrupted learning in most learning institutions in Bunyala South, the ward’s academic performance has improved.
Out of the 1,303 candidates that sat for the 2022 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education exam, 249 had qualified to join the university.
The bursary summary allocation data further shows that from the Sub-County’s four administrative wards, Bunyala North, led by MCA Silvanus Alianda, took the first position after sending 406 students to the university this financial year.
Bunyala West sent 287 students and the flood-prone Bunyala South sent 249.
Transition rate improved
The data has further established that the transition rate for girls this financial year was far much higher than that of boys.
This clearly meant that the school dropout rate for the girl-child has gone down tremendously, unlike the previous years that had seen a big percentage of girls dropping from school due to early pregnancy.
Irene Ajiambo, 50, a widowed mother of seven from Bunyala North ward thanked the area legislator and the CDF committee for supporting the education of her two children.
“Since they joined form one four years ago, my two children have been receiving education bursary that has enabled them to proceed on with education. I am grateful to the Budalangi NG-CDF committee for the assistance,” said the parent.
Another beneficiary, Paul Murende, an orphaned boy in form three at Nayera Model Academy, is all smiles.
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He says had it not been for the education bursary fund he had been getting each financial year, he would have dropped out of school a long time ago.