A partnership between the University of York, education placement company Kaplan International Pathways and Japanese bursaries charity Ashinaga Association, has launched a £1.2 million scholarship scheme to benefit African students.
The scheme will offer full bursaries to up to six students from the sub-Saharan Africa region to study at the UK university each year, in what is being described as a “ground-breaking partnership”, and the “largest undergraduate scholarship”, deal for students from Africa at any university in the UK.
Beneficiaries will receive full tuition support from the partnership that will include a bursary to cater for living costs, visa and travel costs, besides funding to participate in a leadership and skills development program, a year prior to the students commencing their degree course, York vice-chancellor Charles Jeffrey explained.
“We started our engagement with Ashinaga way back in 2020 and we were impressed by their programs, and therefore choosing them as a strategic partner for this initiative made a lot of sense,” Jeffrey told a webinar during the launch of the scheme on March 22.
The university provides one of the best learning environments which, coupled with the structure of the scholarship, all worked to mould all-round student leaders of the future, said the VC.
While under the scheme beneficiaries will be admitted to programs best suited for them, all will undergo a foundation course to prepare them as future leaders in their communities, he added.
Students to benefit from the scheme will be picked via the Ashinaga Africa Initiative which the Japanese organisation has run since 2014, offering scholarships to bright students who have lost both parents.
The AAI is an international leadership program that cultivates the next generation of leaders to contribute to the development of sub-Saharan Africa, by helping identify problems their communities face, and finding solutions, said Ashinaga founder Yoshiomi Tamai in a recorded statement.
“Together we aim to contribute to sub-Saharan Africa’s development by providing students with education, network, and opportunities”
“Together we aim to contribute to sub-Saharan Africa’s development by providing students with the education, network, and opportunities necessary to become the next generation of compassionate leaders for Africa,” he added.
So far the organisation is active in 48 African countries, and selected students undertake training on personal development and undergo preparatory training in Uganda and Senegal, before leaving for degree studies abroad.
According to Barnabas Nawangwe, vice-chancellor of Uganda’s Makerere University, Africa is faced with a looming crisis of population explosion which was expected to double in the next 50 years. The explosion will put a strain on education services, requiring for external support to African institutions and people to help educate the youth.