A majority of last yearâs Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examination top performers will be shared between three universities â Nairobi, Moi and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology.
Nearly all the 314 students who scored grade âAâ opted for old and well-established universities, shunning newer or private institutions.
The University of Nairobi will admit 192 of the grade âAâ students, while JKUAT will take in 53 and Moi 30. Others will join Kenyatta University (17), Technical University of Kenya (13) and Egerton (2). Other universities such as Maseno, Kenya Highlands Evangelical in Kericho, Kenya Methodist, Masinde Muliro, Rongo and Taita Taveta will get only one top performer each.
Education Cabinet Secretary (CS) George Magoha announced the distribution of all the 90,755 students who qualified for higher learning Monday and warned the institutions against unplanned expansion, tribalism and duplication of courses.
The Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS) that replaced the Joints Admissions Board, did the admissions.
A total of 89,486 candidates were placed in degree courses. Of these, 52,610 were male and 36,876 female at a 59:41 per cent gender ratio.
Some 1,269 candidates, who qualified for university admission, opted to join diploma programmes. They will pursue technical and vocational training.
At least two students who obtained grade âAâ were placed in private universities. They are Lodenyo Lilian Angayo who has been admitted to study medicine at the Kenya Methodist University, and Mwawasi Divine Kristy Mkamwasi, was selected to join Kenya Highland Evangelical University to pursue an arts degree in education.
Top private universities such as Strathmore and United States International University enrol their students independently; they do not admit through KUCCPS. Nevertheless, private universities such as Mt Kenya, Daystar and Catholic University of East Africa still received thousands of applicants.
Most of the âAâ students will study surgery, law, engineering, dental surgery, industrial chemistry, actuarial science, and pharmacy. Other popular courses are economics, computer science, engineering, quantity surveying, agriculture and biosystems, financial engineering and education.
By choosing to study science courses, the students are aligning their career goals with the Governmentâs Vision 2030 economic development blueprint, which aims at making Kenya a newly-industrialised nation. President Kenyattaâs Big Four Agenda â manufacturing, affordable homes, universal healthcare and food security â is also premised on the capability of universities to produce top-notch scientists, doctors and engineers.
The student distribution also shows that at least 27 universities will operate with less than half their capacity because the students showed scant interest in the programmes. Some 33 universities will admit less than 1,000 students while seven will have less than 100 students. For the latter, the writing is on the wall as they cannot sustain their programmes with that kind of student population. Closure or merger look imminent for them.
One of them, the International Leadership University in Nairobi, did not attract a single applicant although it has a capacity for 50.
Others, such as Mama Ngina University College (a constituent of Kenyatta University), attracted only 37 students, Kisii University with a capacity of 6,860 got 2,722, Kiriri Womenâs University of Science and Technology got only 100 out of a capacity of 1,000, while Lukenya got only 398 for its 1,100 positions. Tharaka University got 581 out of 1,340 places, while Kabianga got 958 out of 2,220 positions.
Some of the private universities that recorded a huge intake are Mt Kenya with 2,883, Zetech with 1,085 and Catholic University of Eastern Africa 1,269.
Generally, most students preferred established public and private universities that have competitive academic programmes.
Universities that failed to attract many students have been dealt a huge blow because they cannot admit outside the KUCCPS, which has placed all the 90,755 students who qualified for higher learning last year. The institutions will be forced to scale down substantially with regard to staffing and infrastructure or close shop.
The figures show that 107 academic programmes across various universities will not have a single student studying them.
Specifically, 98 academic programmes have no takers because, according to the placement authority, either the applicants did not qualify for them or they were placed in their other choices. Some of these are Development Studies, BA in applied linguistics, translation, theology, geography, environment, youth and water resources. Others are pastoral theology, fisheries, food nutrition, events and leisure, wildlife management and zoology.
Nine courses did not have a single applicant. They are theology, social work and community development, technology in mechanical ventilation and air conditioning, peace and conflict and business administration. Others are aquatic resources conservation development, natural products and environmental science and resource management. Most of these are offered in Kisii University, which has four of them, African Nazarene (1), Co-operative (1), Kirinyaga (1), Meru (1) and Presbyterian University of East Africa, with one.
The CS said he will be addressing issues of the sustainability of some of the universities, staffing and tribalism. âWe must now open dialogues to free our public universities from the inherent rigmarole of political capture and unplanned expansion as the institutions seek to establish campuses in every nook and cranny,â he said.
He asked the CUE to carry out a thorough analysis of all the courses on offer. âThere is an unbelievable similarity and duplication of academic programmes and the import of this is the low quality of the graduates being churned out,â said Prof Magoha.
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