We have funded bursaries in the past. The objectives were:
- To raise the standard of intake in a school where we were starting a programme of support
- To enable a poor and talented child to attend the school who otherwise would not be able to afford the fees.
We will not fund any new bursaries. The reasons for this are:
It is difficult to be sure that the child’s family is poorer than other children in the same class or school and whose parents are making considerable sacrifices so that their children can attend. We can not always be sure that a bursary is allocated efficiently and fairly to those who cannot afford any fees and whose families are worse off than others
Most families in the school catchment area are of similar wealth/welfare/income (in kind income or cash) such that a small number of bursaries is not a feasible approach.
Bursaries are most useful and justified when there are only small pockets of relatively poor families in the area and where the other families are able to afford fees. This is unlikely in the sort of rural areas where we are working.
There is now a programme for bursaries from the Kenya Government and others. It is therefore difficult to ensure that a family is not receiving funding from another source such that double funding can take place.
Funding teacher’s salaries is a much more efficient way of reducing the financial burden on parents in a way that then benefits all the children. This is a better way of achieving our objectives.
Bursaries also entail a long term commitment and earmark or hypothecate future funds before they have been provided. It is also difficult to keep track of the child, the child’s attendance and also any changes in the families’ ability to fund.
The key problem in Kenya the low quality of the education provided to a very large number of children rather than a lack of children in schools.
Our priority for limited funds is to improve the quality of the education in our schools which are all located in poor rural areas.
1 October 2011