Beneficiaries of the Standard Bank and Press Trust joint scholarship scheme have commended the bank for its commitment to ease the financial and material burden they face to complete their education.
Speaking at Likuni Boys Secondary School in Lilongwe where the bank presented the K30 million fund for this year, a representative of the secondary students Alex Chikwinde said the fund has is going a long way to increase access to affordable education for disadvantaged children.
“With this fund, we are able to go to school with the confidence that we’ll not be withdrawn for the lack of tuition and boarding fees. It’s been a huge relief for most of us as we could not afford the fees and other needs such as stationery,” said Chikwinde.
Director for Secondary Education in the Ministry of Education Dr Florida Banda said the lack of tuition fees and related needs is a serious challenge in the Malawi education sector.
She said government partnered Standard Bank, Press Trust, UNICEF and CAMFED to boost its existing scholarship scheme for needy students. “We are grateful for the role of our partners in helping to alleviate this problem. Although government’s scheme covered some 14,000 needy students this year, it was not enough to reach out to every pupil in need,” she said.
Standard Bank Head of Legal and Governance Norah Nsanja said the scholarships are a continuation of the bank’s investment towards improving the quality of education across all key levels in Malawi.
She said the bank has a solid track record of investing in education as the sector is a prerequisite in contributing economic development of the country.
“Together with our partners, we share the same vision that education is a catalyst for stimulating economic growth and prosperity,” said Nsanja.
Press Trust Chief Executive Gibson Ngalamila said the coming on board of Standard Bank has increased the number of beneficiaries from two to four per district.
“We had been running the scholarships as Press Trust since 2003. But due to pressure as demand for scholarships grew, we asked Standard Bank to join us in 2020. This has helped to enhance the scholarship as more students are accessing secondary school.” said Ngalamila.
The K30 million scholarship targets 68 students from 12 national secondary schools.