ASTARC Group, a global Indian conglomerate has offered sh105m as seed money for the Ugandan government to setup a new scholarship scheme for brilliant but needy students
By Innocent Anguyo
ASTARC Group, a global Indian conglomerate has offered sh105m as seed money for the Ugandan government to setup a new scholarship scheme for brilliant but needy students.
The government and ASTARC are currently negotiating the number of scholarships that will be offered to the maiden beneficiaries set to enroll for university programmes in the 2015/2016 academic year.
The scholarships to be undertaken at Makerere University will benefit students from 30 yet-to-be-selected public secondary schools in the central region in the first academic year, before being scaled-up to assist more learners across the country in subsequent years.
ASTARC will offer the money for the scholarship scheme dubbed Edu-connect while government will coordinate activities of the initiative. The firm has budgeted sh150m to support education in Uganda in this financial year.
The maiden beneficiaries of the scheme will be the current senior six students. Both girls and boys enrolled on arts and science programmes at Makerere will benefit. Government and ASTARC are also discussing what the scholarship would cover.
Other than economic impoverishment being a core requirement for awarding the bursaries, students will also be subjected to a test. The scholarship test will assess students based on their reasoning capacity, aptitude and communication skills.
At the launch of the scholarship scheme on Wednesday, Sameer Musale, the ASTARC Group director said sponsoring needy students is part of their social responsibility in Uganda. The company which deals in Hero motorbikes set shop in Uganda about a year ago.
“The future of tomorrow lies in the hands of children today and we are committed to do our bit to empower kids via education,” said Musale.
“The project will create social impact by decreasing the high drop-out post-secondary level education and also increase the higher education enrolment rate especially in the area of sciences.”
The scheme was launched at the residence of the Indian High Commissioner to Uganda, Dr Ramesh Chandra. Chandra hosted a dinner to commemorate 50 years of Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) Scholarship Programme, a scheme that has benefitted thousands of Ugandans.
Ayush Bansal, the Corporate Relation Manager of ASTARC said the company would also offer sh10m to boost the finances of Moroto Primary School in the Karamoja region.
The firm, Sameer further revealed would conduct a career counselling and training program for over 2500 students in 30 selected schools. Students will be educated on the various career options available to them during program.
Chandra noted that as much as India may not be able to pump billions of dollars in aid into Uganda, they can “contribute to the development of science and technology.”
Frank Tumwebaze, the Minister for Presidency thanked India for its continued support towards efforts to improve Uganda’s education.
“I assure you that the relationship between the governments of Uganda and India will remain warm,” said Tumwebaze.
Founded in 1987 and headquartered in Mumbai, India, ASTARC Group is a diversified business group with focus in Printing and Imaging Solutions, Power Generations, Real Estate, Mining, Automobile, Building materials, safety headgear and retail display.
Gov’t, Indian Firm launch new scholarship scheme