Talented university students now stand a chance to secure financial support for their studies through a new sports scholarship launched by Nation Media Group.
NMG signed an agreement with the Higher Education Loans Board to establish the Sporton Universities Scholarship Programme whose aim is to benefit needy students who excel in sports.
Students from the University of Nairobi and Kenyatta University will be the first to benefit from the programme.
Under the agreement, five undergraduate students from each of the universities will benefit from a scholarship worth a maximum of Sh500,000 each in the first round of the programme. The universities will be expected to give progress reports for each recipient of the scholarship.
There are plans, however, to expand the programme to reach out to students in other universities in the country, according to NMG CEO Linus Gitahi.
Speaking at the launch ceremony at the UoN, Mr Gitahi said the initiative will be rolled out to other universities and beneficiaries carefully chosen to reflect its mission. “We hope to expand the programme. Every year, we will have a review to have a few more institutions come on board,” he said.
Mr Gitahi said the sports industry had moved from the periphery of society to being considered an important and productive activity. “As we move into the future, sports will not just be a by the way. It will soon be a career of choice by many students,” he said.
Students from the two universities participated in a sports tournament to mark the launch. KU female students’ teams scooped trophies in basketball and volleyball.
Higher Education Loans Board Chief Executive Officer Charles Ringera said NMG’s role is complementary to its mission of helping grow the national human capital. The scholarship programme will be administered by HELB in the initial stages in which students will be required to apply online and the board will process the applications.
Under the MoU, HELB will use an online application platform for scholarship applications and conduct initial screening of applicants for the scholarships to establish the level of need. A shortlist of the qualified applicants will be submitted to the NMG for consideration.
The University of Nairobi was represented by Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge Academic Affairs Prof Henry Mutoro, while present for Kenyatta University was Deputy Vice Chancellor Prof John Okumu.
Also present were NMG head of marketing Ms Ann Gitau and directors of sports at UoN and KU Mr Mbaabu Muriithi and Ms Peninnah Wahome, respectively.