Link course selection to academic strength

Thursday, May 23rd, 2024 06:00 | By
Mercy Wahome the Chief Executive Officer of the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS). PHOTO/X (@KUCCPS_Official)

Time is ripe for the Ministry of Education to focus on career coaching for students early enough for them to make informed decisions about the subjects they want to concentrate on in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education exam. The job market should find ways of eliminating bottlenecks that inhibit students from pursuing certain courses, including failing to attain a certain grade for subjects deemed compulsory in the KCSE.

Data from the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS) on this year’s placement of students in tertiary institutions supports this view. For the first time, after the Teachers Service Commission scrapped such regulations, KUCCPS reported a sharp increase in the number of students interested in the Bachelor of Arts in Education degree, making it the most popular course among this year’s freshman class.

KUCCPS said over 11,000 students who qualified for degree programmes opted for diploma courses instead. This could be another example of students feeling unprepared to pursue a degree course because of underperforming in the core subjects at secondary school.

The Kenyan education system for the longest time has been the number one career killer for blatantly failing to recognise a student’s academic strength as the bare minimum for the courses they pursue in colleges and universities. That is why stakeholders should review policies that regulate learning in tertiary institutions to link a student’s academic strengths to courses that they will pursue in college regardless of the aggregate grade attained in the KCSE. Despite the introduction of the Competency Based Curriculum, students are still graded the old-fashioned way. Top-grade university courses have become the preserve of those who pass, while craft and artisan studies are perceived as meant for underachievers.

Teachers, parents and others impress upon secondary school students to work hard and pass the KCSE with a grade that will earn them a university slot and later help them secure a good job. This creates the impression that students who do not make it to university will become failures. Separate surveys have linked career dissatisfaction to pursuing the wrong courses. When external influence compels a student to pursue a certain area of study, chances are high that they will change their career midstream to join their dream profession.

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