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University applications for 2019 KCSE cohort ongoing

By Noel Wandera
Monday, February 24th, 2020
Samson Gachie of Nyakiambi Secondary is feted in Nakuru county after scoring A- in the 2019 KCSE exam. He was one of the best-improved students having scored 277 marks in the KCPE test.

More than 125,000 students who sat the 2019 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination began to apply for admission in universities under government sponsorship last week amidst a financial crisis threatening to cripple the State institutions. 

While declaring the online portals open, Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service  (KUCCPS) Chief Executive Officer John Muraguri, said the deadline for applications is March 9. 

Help desks 

He said universities have declared a capacity for 193,878 learners. “This is enough to absorb all those who met the minimum requirement for admission to Degree programmes (C+) and are willing to pursue courses in universities,” he said.  

The 2019 KCSE results indicate 688,928 students qualified for placement to tertiary institutions at various levels under government sponsorship. Of these, 125,449 attained a mean grade of C+ and above, thus qualifying to join local universities. 

Another 563,479 scored between C and E , qualifying for placement to Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions.   “All the 2019 KCSE candidates who scored a mean grade of C+ and above will therefore be given an opportunity for placement to universities and TVET institutions. Those who scored C and below will be given an opportunity to apply for placement to TVET institutions,” he said.” he said. 

The State Department of Vocational and Technical Training has a capacity of 350,000 in the TVET institutions that are under the ministry of Education. The capacity is enough to absorb 62 per cent of the candidates who qualified for TVET. “The there are also several other TVET institutions offering training opportunities where the remaining 38 per cent can be absorbed,” said Kuucps CEO. 

Secondary school managers have been reminded to give information on KCSE candidate with disability to facilitate this process.More than 17,000 students are expected to be sponsored by the State  in private varsities. 

Beginning today (February 24, the placement service will set up temporary desks in the several education institutions in the counties to advise and support applicants. The services will be offered in most public universities located upcountry and at major technical institutions such as Sigalagala National Polytechnic in Kakamega and Kabete National Polytechnic, Kiambu county. 

Further, placement service offices at the ACK Garden House (Community Area) and at Huduma Centres in Mombasa, Nyeri, Eldoret, Nakuru, Garissa, Kakamega, Kisumu, Meru, Kitui, and Nairobi (Makadara and GPO).  “These support services will remain available throughout the application period,” Muraguri said. 

This comes as public universities find themselves in deep financial doldrums blamed on falling student population under Module 11, mismanagement and low State funding.  A fall in the number of students pursuing parallel degree courses has hurt public varsity finances.

Financial woes  

Several universities have recently scrapped some courses and closed satellite campuses to cut costs. Kenyatta University (KU) is also seeking a commercial loan of up to Sh450 million from lenders in the latest signal of the cash crunch facing the country’s institutions.

The financial woes could now drive the institutions, which produce most of the intellectuals supposed to drive the economy, in a grip of quality crisis of their graduates. Some campuses attached to their parent institutions have neither libraries nor Internet access,  serving only to raise money for the parent university.

In the 2019-20 budget,  public universities were allocated Sh97.7 billion. Estimates further show that the State has funded university education at a fixed rate of Sh70, 000 per student per academic year, notwithstanding of programme of study, for the last 26 years.

The University Funding Board (UFB) —one of whose roles is to cost varsity courses and fees afresh—says it is engaging stakeholders including universities on possible  fee adjustments. It will be the first review of university fees structure since the end of free varsity education in 1991 and introduction of the  Higher Education Loans Board (Helb) in 1995.

Vice-chancellors have recently proposed that tuition charges be tripled to Sh48, 000 annually amid opposition from students.  A  2010 study supported by the World Bank and the State had  recommended that public universities double their fees and increase interest paid on Helb loans. But student unions opposed the review.

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