Two thousand nine hundred and seven students yesterday received secondary schools scholarships from the Equity Group and Master Card foundations.
The scholarships, under the 'Wings to Fly' programme, are given to children from disadvantaged families who cannot afford form one fees. President Kibaki presided over the commissioning of the 2013 scholarships at the Moi International Sports Centre Kasarani yesterday.
Kibaki termed the initiative as noble because it helps academically talented Kenyan children by giving them opportunities to access secondary education. "My government continues to put in a lot of investment and interest in education," Kibaki said.
He said the introduction of free primary education in 2003 was a clear demonstration of the commitment of the government to give Kenyan children a strong foundation and prepare them for their future roles in building the nation.
Kibaki said access to quality education is the surest way to promote equality in access to opportunities and resources.
"It is through education that we shall develop the necessary human capital to move our country from a developing to a middle-level economy," he said.
The President appealed to well wishers, development partners and corporate organisations to extend the scholarships through the Wings to Fly programme to give more bright students an opportunity to access secondary school education.
Education minister Mutula Kilonzo, in a speech read on his behalf by his PS George Godia, said the government is committed to providing appropriate education to all Kenyan children.
"With the support of organisations such as the Equity Group and Master Card foundations, we will progress in making education more inclusive and accessible to children who come from disadvantaged backgrounds across all regions," Kilonzo said.
Equity Group Foundation chairman James Mwangi said only 3,000 students out of 14,000 who applied for the scholarships were selected.
"I appeal to Kenyans whose children were not selected to be patient enough and to re-apply in next year's programme," he said. During the selection, only pupils who scored above 350 marks in their KCPE were considered.
Other guests present during the event include the former President of Botswana Festus Mogae, US Ambassador to Kenya Robert Codec, Equity Bank chair Peter Munga and Master Card Foundation CEO Reeta Roy.