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Universities and colleges placement problem must be solved now to avoid more mess in future

By Akisa Wandera | August 19th 2021

Akisa Wandera. [File, Standard]

The Ministry of Education officially released results of the placement exercise for the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) class of 2020 who are joining institutions of higher learning.

According to the data, only 271,762 candidates secured degree, diploma and certificate courses in these institutions.

This means 465,765 students who sat the 2020 KCSE examination have been left out with no clear way forward on their next stage of learning.

That is worrying at a time when the government is spearheading the 100 per cent transition.

That more than half the students are missing out should worry the Ministry of Education and other stakeholders.

It should not be left to parents alone to figure out what to do next.

Education Cabinet Secretary Prof. George Magoha has blamed 8,000 high school principals.

He accused them of killing the dreams of the students.

The government needs to find out where the weaknesses are.

Education Cabinet Secretary Prof. George Magoha. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

Is it the people or the system? If it is the people, what does the ministry intend to do to prevent the same from happening next year?

Is there a need for retraining these school heads and other teachers involved in the whole process?

Out of 10,437 schools that presented candidates to sit the KCSE exams, only 2505 students made their course applications according to the ministry’s data.

Glaring numbers warrant deeper interrogation by the ministry to find out where the missing link is.

How do we make the process simpler for the student, the teacher and the parent?

Proper timelines should be put in place for the selection procedure and school heads compelled to present the full list of candidates’ course applications before the start of national examinations.

This way, thousands of students will not be disadvantaged because of someone else’s mistake.

After all, these students depend on the teachers for guidance and what a disaster that is when the guide also does not understand the process?

With the exercise complete, and results out, the ministry should tell Kenyans how it intends to help the 400,000-odd students.

This should be done even as the ministry works towards ensuring a smooth exercise that will support the 100 per cent transition policy next year.

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