At least 100,000 school going children benefited from learning materials including textbooks, desks and construction of classrooms during this year's KCB community week activities.
The annual initiative is aimed at improving access to quality education for students in public schools that face myriad challenges ranging from high student to teacher ratios, unacceptable book to student ratios and poor infrastructure that plagues the education system in Kenya.
These challenges are due to the high enrollment of students in public schools since the introduction of the Free Primary Education that has seen learning institutions stretched to the limit. It is common to have a classroom of 70 pupils up from the 35 students that was the norm a few years ago. Some parents have also slacked in ensuring their children are armed with books, school uniforms and other reference materials. Yet students from these poorly resourced public schools are expected to compete with their peers in well-equipped private schools with sufficient learning materials and teaching staff.
"The KCB community week is part of our bank's commitment through the KCB Foundation to invest in education. Through this activity, we supplement the provision of materials by the parents and the government and in so doing, we contribute towards the development of the education system in Kenya," said KCB Chief Executive Officer Martin Oduor-Otieno during the launch of the community week.
Through the 172 branches, KCB reached 190 public primary and secondary schools including those that cater for children with special needs with desks, textbooks and therapy equipment valued at Sh19 million and supported through the KCB Foundation.
The KCB Foundation has been supporting schools since its inception in 2007 and this year the Foundation allocated Sh27.8 million in its budget to education. This has been utilised in the provision of secondary school scholarships to 109 bright students across Kenya, construction of classrooms and equipping of computer laboratories in twenty one public secondary schools.
"Every year we provide scholarships to needy children and although this facilitates their enrolment, through our community week engagement, we increase the number of students who get assistance through purchase of text books and learning materials for public schools. This goes to show our commitment towards improving our education sector and in turn our contribution to the Millennium Development Goals and our economic blueprint Vision 2030," Oduor-Otieno said.
Since 2007, KCB and its subsidiaries has invested over half a billion shillings in various community development programs. The KCB Community week activities are in addition to other KCB Foundation community investments in the areas of Environment, Enterprise Development, Health and Humanitarian Intervention.