More than 65,000 students in Kisii are set to benefit from bursaries to be issued by the county government.
The county on Tuesday relaunched its bursary fund which has been doubled to Sh240 million.
A total of 65, 130 students will receive the cash across the county’s 45 wards.
Kisii governor James Ongwae said the kitty’s relaunch followed a recommendation by the Controller of Budget and Auditor General’s office.
“We have been running the fund since 2013 when my government assumed office. However, due to some clauses in its management structure, the controller and auditor general asked us to amend the act,” governor Ongwae said.
The governor said he wrote a letter to the County Assembly sharing the auditor’s concerns and asked members to amend the relevant laws.
“The Controller and Auditor General’s office noted that Ward Reps could not be members of bursary committees at ward level and at the same time play the role of oversight in the committees,” said Mr Kerosi Ondieki, the Assembly Speaker.
“It recommended that we remove the members of county assemblies from the Ward Bursary Committees. We duly complied with the instruction and passed the amendment in May, 2016,” he said.
Kisii branch Kenya National Union of Teachers Knut chairman Stephen Makabe said the bursary allocation was initially too low for the high number of needy but bright students.
“I have witnessed students receiving a bursary as low as Sh2,000. That level of funding is still meagre to cover the students’ fees even for a single term,” he said.
He asked the ward bursary committees to ensure the funds were fairly distributed.
“There have been complaints of political influence in the allocation of the bursary funds. It is our hope that the bursary allocations will target the genuine needy cases,” he said.
Responding to Mr Makabe’s concerns, Governor Ongwae said the bursary allocations will displayed on notice boards in the wards.
He said feedback by residents after the publication of names of the bursary beneficiaries will serve as an indicator of whether or not the committees had done fair allocations.
The governor asked needy students to apply for the funds, saying that they were open to all genuine cases. Students in polytechnic students will benefit from the cash under the new arrangement.