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Technology

App that ensures deserving students obtain bursaries

Ken Gitonga
Innovator Ken Gitonga. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NMG 

Many undeserving students have always been awarded bursaries at the expense of genuine. This has been attributed to nepotism and politics, among other malpractices.

However, a new application known as e-Bursary, which was developed by students of Technical University of Mombasa (TUM), is seeking to reverse this trend.

Ken Gitonga and his colleagues at TUM had on numerous occasions missed out on bursar awards because they are not “politically connected”.

“Also when the application forms were being issued we were in school. Travelling back home to apply was very expensive,” says the 24-year-old.

After missing out on the bursaries a number of times and also seeing his friends facing financial difficulties or even dropping out of university for lack of fees, Mr Gitonga was motivated to come up with the innovation to ensure bursary funds get to deserving cases.

“I also faced financial challenges while studying. And whenever I tried applying for the funds I couldn’t get because I was not well connected,” says Mr Gitonga, who is a bachelor of commerce Management Science graduate.

“Another challenge I wanted to address is the massive mismanagement in allocation of bursaries at constituency and county levels.”

In November last year, after graduating from the technical university, he used his savings amounting to Sh300,000 to come up with the innovation. Together with his partner they began working on the innovation.

“To apply for funds, sign up for the system, fill in all your details, click apply, the system then generates a unique form, which is downloaded and taken to finance to undergo a physical process required before the cash is released,” he says.

The innovation has so far helped 800 students get bursaries.

In January this year, the innovation was launched at the institution where Mombasa deputy governor William Kingi, Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir and the University Vice Chancellor Prof Laila Abubakar was in attendance.

Dr Kingi urged the students to emulate the young man and be innovators.

“Molo constituency, Mombasa County Government are also interested in buying the innovation. I am eyeing Constituency Development Fund (CDF) committee at the national level to manage bursaries across the country and ensure deserving learners get the funds,” adds the innovator.

The e-bursary system enables students to apply and receive bursaries from any part of the country through their mobile phones. Students do not have to go to their constituencies to apply for the loan

“It aims to improve education and address issues of bias, discrimination and corruption in government offices,” Mr Gitonga says.

The system, he says, solves many challenges of manual application of bursary from government institutions such as inequality in awarding the funds, long queues at the government offices, the tedious and time-consuming process of filling and submitting the forms.

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