The rich now want to take up the opportunities MPESA Foundation Academy is giving the poor

At SAGE Session Kenya that was held on Tuesday 10th September 2019 at Villa Rosa Kempinski, Paul Ngugi who is the head of IT at MPESA Foundation Academy made a presentation of how MPESA Foundation Academy is run, right from the recruitment of new students to their teaching modules. From the presentation, it was clear that MPESA Foundation Academy is a model high school that any serious government should consider implementing, not only in all high schools in the country, but in Universities too. Actually the participants at the SAGE Session Kenya were so impressed with the structure of MPESA Foundation Academy to the point of wondering why corporates haven’t partnered with Universities in Kenya to replicate the structure at MPESA Foundation Academy. More importantly, the presentation of How MPESA Foundation is run made a few of those present wish their sons and daughters also had a chance to be schooled at the Academy.

“Is MPESA Foundation considering to allow paying students be part of the Academy? I think it would be good if those who can pay are also allowed to be part of the academy so that they are not locked out from the interesting opportunities MPESA Foundation is offering to the needy students. That, I think, would be another way for MPESA Foundation to look into sustainability options”, one participant asked, of which Paul Ngugi answered, “MPESA Foundation was founded on the spirit of giving back to the society. Right now the Foundation has funding that will allow it to provide for students up to the next five years. In the future, the foundation may consider paying students as a model for sustainability, but right now what I can say is that the priority of the foundation is to provide holistic education to extremely needy students from all over the country”.

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Both the question and the answer have been paraphrased.

What baffled me from the question is this; why would the rich want a piece of MPESA Foundation Academy? Of course the answer is obvious – MPESA Foundation Academy has been structured in such a way so to provide immense opportunities, both academically and economically, to the children but from very poor backgrounds. The Academy is teaching the students to be foremost responsible in all areas of life but most importantly to be responsible financially. They are being taught how to become successful entrepreneurs. How to become innovators. How to become thinkers. MPESA Foundation Academy is creating a group of people who will immense for themselves massive success, as not only are they being provided with the hard brick and motor skills required to navigate this world of hardship and intense competition for limited resources, but also the soft skills that will make them become great leaders, great achievers, and great legends. The type of education MPESA Foundation Academy is offering is the type of education every mindful human would love to go through – and that’s why the rich would feel threatened when their children are being left out – that’s why they would love to have their children take up the limited spaces available at MPESA Foundation Academy, even if it means paying for those spaces.

I presented this argument to a friend and his response was ready at the fingertips – that of course at some point MPESA Foundation Academy would need a source of sustainable income since solely relying on profits from MPESA and other well wishers will not last forever, and that even Starehe Boys Centre has both paying and non-paying students.

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I didn’t argue back but these are my counter thoughts –

Why must the rich just think of taking up the opportunities that have been provided to the poor? Why can’t they set up their own schools modeled under the structure of MPESA Foundation Academy and send their children to those schools instead? Heck, they can still transform their own private schools to copy what MPESA Foundation Academy is already doing, and pay school fees in those private schools.

Instead, away from the goal of MPESA Foundation Academy which doesn’t want to lay emphasis on National Exams but on developing talent, innovation, entrepreneurship, and leadership skills to students, and measure success of the students on how they’ll turn out to be five or more years after the students have left the Academy, these rich people’s core interest is to have their kids  score A in both National Exams, to thereafter bribe their ways in government and private offices.

We have had the children of the rich taking up positions in government, in parastatals, and in the private sector, not because they can do better jobs, but simply because they are the sons and daughters of those that matter. Now that MPESA Foundation Academy has created a platform that gives the children of the very poor an opportunity to make a solid difference in the society, the rich want to grab those opportunities for themselves too.

And that’s why I love the Education System set up by the Finns. The Finnish people have set up an education system that doesn’t recognise the rich, or the poor, or the middle class. Each Finnish school is a model school (just like MPESA Foundation Education), where no matter which school a random student enrolls at, the student gets the same resources, the same teaching methods, the same lessons, as any other random student enrolled at any other random Primary or Secondary school in Finland. No student, rich or poor, makes any form of payment to any of the Finnish schools, lacks any books, lacks any IT gadgets, lacks any resources. All Finnish children have all they need (at the cost of the taxpayer), to attain Finnish basic education.

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That means, if the rich in this country were serious, they could figure out how to set up numerous MPESA Foundation like Academies across the country where any Kenyans can enroll and study at for free. And just like the rich in Finland ensure their education system continues to succeed given that their children have no upper hand in as far as education is concerned, the rich in this country could also be forced to ensure that our education system works – at least from pre-primary to secondary schools.

The education system in Finland which is the best globally is one of the reasons the Finnish people are the happiest. That means numerous MPESA Foundation like Academies will definitely make more Kenyans happier. Then the same concept could be extended to healthcare. And why wouldn’t we be happier, love our country more, if the rich in this country took care of those two basic human needs?

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Odipo Riaga
Managing Editor at KachTech Media
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