Establish policies to grow varsity intake
It is worrying that only 19 per cent of KCSE candidates attain Grade C Plus and above, the cut-off mark required for one to join university. This number is way too low and there is need for the relevant government agencies to come up with policies that will increase enrollment.
This is the right time to do so given that debate about how to reform financing of university education is ongoing and, as the Commission for Higher Education has observed, there is now room for increased enrolment.
Although the large number of second quartile candidates can be accommodated by Technical and Vocational Education and Training colleges and institutes, there is still need to ensure there is a balance in training at all levels so as to produce a workforce that meets the diverse needs of Kenya’s growing economy. This includes, in part, raising university admissions.
Now that private universities have been given the green light to continue admitting government sponsored students, there is room for the base to grow and play a critical role going forward giving the important role Nairobi plays as a regional economic hub on the one hand and the growing number of Kenyans seeking white collar jobs abroad on the other.
Training is important in growing a skilled workforce especially now that the world has entered the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which calls for a new set of skills to meet the demands of a digitally driven economy.
Even where learners have to take a longer route to joining universities, such as by first enrolling in colleges or taking bridging courses, ways should be found to make this route clear from the moment one is enrolled. This way, those who would like to further grow their skills can do so in the confidence that the routes they have taken will eventually get them to their desired academic achievement.
Education in Kenya is one of the surest gateways to financial empowerment of individuals and households. As such, creating more opportunities for Kenyans to advance their knowledge will play a big role in reducing long-term poverty and growing the economy. Knowledge is power. The government should feel duty bound, therefore, to open more doors for young people to acquire this power.