62,800 students get varsity slots, say placement body, minister

Seth Onyango @SethManex

Slightly over 62,000 out of 69,151 candidates who scored C+ (plus) and above in last year’s Form Four national exams have been selected to join universities under the government-sponsored programme.

The 62,851 leaves out over 500,000 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) 2017 candidates who did not make the cut-off marks. There is also concern over the huge number of students failing to transition to tertiary institutions that offer alternative to degree courses.

A total of 606,394 sat KCSE last year, according to the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS) report released by Education Cabinet secretary Amina Mohammed in Nairobi yesterday.

Only 28,866 students have been selected to public universities and colleges offering Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) diploma courses.

This is despite 100,906 students having scored between C plain and C- (minus), making them eligible for placement to diploma courses. Tellingly, of 222,737 students with between grades D+ (plus) to D plain were eligible for enrolment into TVET centres for certificate courses, only 5,324 applied and have been placed.

The shocking figures calls for urgent intervention into the country’s education sector, especially in regard to transition from high school to universities and colleges where massive failure in the past two years has denied many progression.

The only way out, for those who missed the mark and would like to do degrees in private universities, is to sit for certificate and diploma courses which act as bridging courses in recognised institutions.

However, all is not lost as all the 22 public universities run parallel degree programmes in main and satellite campuses where those who fail to be placed on courses of their choice can find recourse.

There are also 14 chartered private universities and another 13 operating under Letter of Interim Authority, all which offer alternatives for public universities for those who qualify. Of the students placed yesterday 36,945 (58.78 per cent) are males and 25,906 (41.22 per cent) females.

This was a slight increase in the number of female students making it to university amid sustained government efforts towards gender parity in education.

Although 69,151 achieved the coveted cut-off points in last year’s KCSE exams, 5,747 (8.3 per cent) students have not secured placement, 2,128 of which did not apply at all, while 3,619 applied but could not competitively secure placement. Amina directed KUCCPS to ensure that no qualified student is locked out of university.

“I call upon the placement service to reach out to these candidates individually and give them a chance to apply for courses of their choice. I expect a report on the unplaced students within two weeks,” she directed.

Additionally, she announced that those who have secured courses but wish to transfer to other programmes would be given a one-month window between May 1 and May 30 this year to explore alternative options.

Releasing the placement report, Amina said 553 students who qualified for degree courses opted for diploma options and were placed in their programmes of choice.

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