High school students to get free bicycles
About 6,000 students in day secondary schools in Siaya, Kakamega and Uasin Gishu counties have benefited from free bicycles valued at Ksh80 million.
Some 180 students from Ndigwa Secondary School in Siaya got a donation of 1,205 Buffalo bicycles under the Bicycles for Education Empowerment (BEEP) programme early this week. They are among 1,205 students from eight secondary schools in Siaya who will receive bicycles valued at Ksh4 million.
The programme, which aims to improve school attendance and performance, is an initiative of the World Bicycle Relief (WBR) in conjunction with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and World Vision Kenya (WVK).
Speaking at Ndigwa Secondary School, Senior Deputy Director of Education, Mr Darious Mogaka hailed the programme, saying it will enhance students’ access to education, retention and participation and improve outcomes.
The first phase of the initiative will see 3,000 Buffalo brand of bicycles distributed in the schools between June and October this year.
World Bicycle Relief Kenya Country Director Dick Waswa said the initiative, which was first introduced in Africa in Zambia in 2009, was necessitated by the high rate of students dropping out of school due to access challenges related to distance.
It targets students who walk long distances of between 6 an d 15km daily, Mr Waswa said, noting that long treks increase tardiness, absenteeism and exhaustion, often leading to the withdrawal from the education system by some students.
“There is more emphasis in the Kenyan education system on such areas as building school infrastructure, tuition, books, capacity building, nutrition, water sanitation and hygiene, but very little attention is paid to the learners and teachers who have to walk long distances to reach school”, he noted.
The programme has been started on a pilot basis but will be rolled out depending based on its success, Mr Waswa noted.