Public universities have suffered a major blow after fewer candidates qualified to enroll for various courses thanks to strict rules by the Education ministry.
The announcement that only 88,929 candidates of those who sat this year’s Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exam attained the university entry grade of C+ and above has dealt a natural death to the parallel programmes.
Every year, after the Kenya Universities and Colleges Placement Service (KUCCPS) allocates students to public universities; the institutions still have additional space to take in more students.
But this time, all those who qualified will be admitted under the government-funded programme, leaving no single candidate to be enrolled under the module two programme.
This year, 91,378 of the 165,766 students who scored the minimum university entry grade of C+ and above were locked out of Government slots in public universities. This means they were still qualified for admission under the parallel programs in public universities.
Most universities generate billions of shillings through the parallel programme with some using the monies to pay staff and run certain programmes. But next year, this will not be the case.
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KUCCPS Chief Executive Officer John Muraguri, however, said the announcement is good for the qualified candidates because vacancies will be available.
This year, a total of 84,000 students were admitted in both public and private universities after President Uhuru Kenyatta directed that an additional 10,000 students be take up by private universities. Available capacity in public universities this year is 74,000.
“If we stretch a bit to get 4,000 additional spaces, all the 88,000 will be taken in comfortably,” said Muraguri adding private universities alone can expand available spaces to take in more candidates.
National Association of Private University Owners Association said there was no cause for alarm for the 30 private universities in the country.
“Every year, we are allocated 10,000 students by the placement Board. We then admit an additional 10,000 directly,” said Simon Gicharu, the association chairman.
He said that there were students who opted to study in private universities because of a number of reasons, among them specialization. Some of the courses most sought after by students he said included law, medicine, pharmacy and nutrition.
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“There has been instances when students are admitted to public universities to pursue courses they do not like. They come to us and because they are qualified we admit them.”
But these results also mean that most universities will not get the total number of students to fill up their declared capacities.
Data on declared universities capacities shows that Moi University can take up 5, 825 students, being the biggest number. Kenyatta University is second with a capacity of 5, 598 students while the University of Nairobi can admit 5, 374 students.
Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology has a capacity of 4,714 while Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology can take in 3,828 students.
Maseno University can admit 3,829 while Egerton can take in some 3,010 students. However with the just released results, some programs will get few applicants.
“What this means is that candidates will be able to take programmes of their choices comfortably even during the first or second round of the selection process,” said Muraguri.
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The data released yesterday shows that only 141 candidates scored the coveted grade A compared to some 2, 685 who attained the grade last year.
Gicharu said the stringent measures taken by Government to eradicate cheating which has in effect reduced the number of students meeting the minimum admission requirement would go along way in uplifting education standards in the country.
“Now when a university admits a student, it will know the grades they got in KCSE is the real one. The measures will also make students to work hard knowing there is no shortcut.”