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Class 8 dropouts’ lifeline in pursuit of degrees

By Augustine Oduor | Published Sat, May 13th 2017 at 00:05, Updated May 13th 2017 at 00:08 GMT +3
Pupils who fail to secure Form One or university and colleges admissions will have a chance to enroll for higher education next year once the government framework is put in place. [Photo: File, Standard]

Imagine not stepping into a secondary school, but still manage to learn up to masters degree level.

Or after sitting Form Four national examination and fail to secure university admission, you move up to certificate and diploma grades that get you through to university education.

This will now be the reality of thousands of learners who get sieved out of the education system after failing to secure Form One slots or those who miss out on university and colleges admissions.

The government is rolling out plans to create special pathways – starting January next year – that will see learners who fail to attend secondary education earn salaries equal to that of a Masters degree holder.

The details are contained in the draft Kenya National Qualifications Framework (KNQF) that was passed by education stakeholders this week at an event presided over by Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i.

Awarding of certificates

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The proposed KNQF seeks to provide a one stop accreditation, teaching/training, testing, assessment and evaluation for all qualifications and accreditation bodies responsible for education and training curricula and awarding of certificates, diplomas or other academic or professional awards.

The framework provides three distinct pathways that will bring to an end the annual wastage of pupils who get locked out of Form One admissions and those who fail to meet university entry grades.

Last year, of the 942,021 candidates who sat the 2016 KCPE examination, 300,000 scored 249 marks and below.

This means they failed to meet the average Form One admission mark.

Of these, 221,438 pupils scored 101 and 200 marks. A total of 6,747 pupils scored 100 marks and below. A government brief seen by Saturday Standard reveals that this year, 150, 943 candidates missed Form One slots.

And it is projected that in 2018 despite the government intervention to construct 2,000 classrooms, some 78,066 pupils will still miss Form One slots.

The good news however is that starting January next year, a pathway will be available for these pupils to advance to education and training levels that will see then share a pay bracket with Masters degree holders.

A finer look at the pathway shows these pupils will be enrolled to some form of training that will see them sit the first examination called Government Trade Tests (GTT).

Making the presentation to the stakeholders, Prof Wanjala Kerre, the chairman of KNQ authority said that after the first training level, pupils will sit the first trade test called GTT I.

The meeting attended by various qualifications and certification agencies, unions, regulators, associations and employers took place at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD).

He said this certificate will be an equivalent to a National Vocational Certificate (NVC), which will also be the first qualification for Form Four leavers who fail to secure university admission or those who wish to pursue technical education.

“This means after the first test, pupils who failed to go to secondary education will be at the same level with a Form Four leaver who has undertaken the first vocational training certificate course,” said Prof Kerre.

The pupil will then sit a second trade test (GTT II), which will be an equivalent of National Vocational Certificate (NVC) certificate/artisan.

“This will also be the second qualification of a Form Four student who has moved up the training after attaining the NVC certificate,” said Prof Kerre.

The third and last trade test (GTT III) for Class Eight leavers will elevate them to the level of craftsman.


Prof Kerre said four new levels will be introduced for the Class Eight leavers–the master crafts person (III), (II), (I) and professional Master Crafts person.

The master crafts persons will sit National Skills Certificates tests at every stage. He said the Master Crafts person will be at the same level as a Masters degree graduate.

“Master crafts person I will be an equivalent to a bachelors degree,” he said.

He said pupils who fail to join Form One should not worry anymore, noting that if they work hard, they will be in the same pay bracket with Masters degree holders.

“The Public Service Commission (PSC) will use these structures to work out remuneration and there will be no reason why a Master Crafts person should not fall on same job grade as a Master degree holder or the master craft person I should not be on same pay grade as a degree holder,” said Prof Kerre.

Dr Matiang’i said the reforms are historic and would be ready by January 2018.

“You have six months to operationalise this and you have full government support to get done with this exercise,” he said.

And for Form Four leavers, the higher diploma certification will be scrapped. “After obtaining the national diploma, the student will be able to enroll for a bachelors degree course,” said Prof Kerre.

These pathways will further give hope to thousands of Form Four leavers who fail to meet the minimum university entry grade of C+.

This year alone, only 88,626 candidates scored C+ and above and have been allocated courses of their choice. Another 28,000 students will enroll for diploma programs across middle level colleges.

Overall, a total of 454,443 students who sat last year’s examinations have not been placed in any university or middle level college.

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