Placement of Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education candidates to universities and other institutions of higher learning has posed a major challenge to the Ministry of Education in recent years.
In August last year, Cabinet Secretary George Magoha expressed disappointment with secondary schools and teachers stating that they failed to guide the 2020 Form Four candidates on relevant courses to pursue at the university and college level.
While releasing the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS) results, Magoha was dismayed by KCSE candidates failing to apply for courses in Technical and Vocational Educational Training (TVETs) institutes or universities.
Among the courses that have been on the spotlight for attracting a low number of applicants across several universities between 2021 and 2019 included Bachelor of Technology in Building Construction, Bachelor of Science in Entrepreneurship, Theology, Bachelor of Science (Energy Technology), Bachelor of Technology in Renewable Energy and Bachelor of Technology in Mechanical Engineering, Bachelor of Science in Automotive Technology.
Bachelor of Science (Oceanography), Bachelor of Science (Aquatic Resources Conservation and Development with IT) and Bachelor of Science in Animal Production.
Others included Bachelor of Arts in Counselling Psychology, Bachelor of Arts in Church Educational Ministries, Bachelor of Technology in Medical Engineering, Bachelor of Science in Aquaculture and Fisheries Technology, Bachelor of Science in Human Nutrition and Dietetics, Bachelor of Arts in Pastoral Theology.
Bachelor of Science Horticulture, Bachelor of Science (Utilization & Sustainability of Arid, Bachelor of Agribusiness Management, Bachelor of Environmental Studies (Biology and Health) and Bachelor of Science (Botany).
Root Causes for Students Rejecting Courses
Magoha, in past addresses, noted that the issues stem from poor guidance by teachers.
“We have continued to observe low participation by secondary schools in this process. This is a bad indictment on our career as teachers who have failed to carry out their duty.
“I would understand if a student refuses to select courses but if a centre refuses, then action must be taken against the institution,” he stated in August 2021.
Investigations also detailed that the majority of the candidates pick courses after finishing Form Four, and thus were not guided well.
Another perennial issue is candidates selecting competitive courses in all the four KUCCPS slots.
Some candidates even select the same course in all four slots.
Magoha first directed the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) to purge teachers and institutions accused of failing to guide candidates.
Teachers in charge of career departments were advised to guide candidates to select relevant degrees, diplomas, certificates and artisan programmes.
The CS also urged local leaders and politicians to encourage students who have qualified for government scholarships to apply for admissions to universities and colleges.
University vice chancellors were cautioned against introducing new programmes which are irrelevant thus failing to attract applicants.
He further announced that plans were underway to scrap various courses from Kenyan Universities.
Positives Worth Noting
In 2020, the CS noted that TVETs attracted a high number of applicants, including those who qualified for universities and colleges.
“I am happy to note that candidates who qualify for university admission are increasingly applying for TVET courses despite having attained grades to join university,” he announced.
“In the 2020 KCSE, 6,617 students who attained C+ and above opted for TVET programmes and were placed, up from 2,632 in 2019,” he added.
Out of the 6,617 students, one got an A-, B+ (98), B (363, B- (1,113) and C+ (5,023).