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Varsities scramble for handful 'A' stars

By Augustine Oduor | Published Wed, April 11th 2018 at 00:00, Updated April 10th 2018 at 23:33 GMT +3
 Education CS Amina Mohamed giving an update on the National Education Management Information System (NEMIS). [Photo by Wilberforce Okwiri/Standard]

Kamau Brian Maina of Alliance High School, who was the top candidate in last year’s Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination, has been selected to study bio,medical engineering at Kenyatta University.

Placement details show that Kut Donata Odero of Lenana School will be enrolled at University of Nairobi to study surgery.

Kirimi Naomi Kawira of Pangani Girls will also be admitted at the University of Nairobi to study civil engineering.

Sharon Jephumba of Moi Girls Eldoret completes the top candidates who scored 84 points and she will be admitted at the University of Nairobi to study surgery.

This emerged as universities scrambled for the few students who scored ‘A’ plain unlike in the past years.

Only 141 students scored A plain, a number that in the past would only come from schools like Alliance Boys, Kabarak High School and other top performing schools in the country.

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Engineering, medicine and architecture were the most popular courses as University of Nairobi admitted 95 of the 142 top performers in last year’s KCSE exam.

An analysis of the courses preferred by the 142 candidates who score grade A shows that 63 chose medicine, 48 selected engineering and six enrolled for pharmacy programme.

Details also show that Konyango Wanda Trezer of Kenya High will also be admitted at University of Nairobi to study surgery.

Competitive programmes

Mwatate Emily Saru of Pangani Girls will undertake architectural studies at the University of Nairobi as Shikuku Marie Khalai of Kenya High has been admitted at the same university to study surgery.

Moi University Eldoret will admit Morara Mongina Defence of Pangani Girls to study surgery, while Wahome Sherry Wanjiku is listed at the University of Nairobi to study the same course.

Cheptalam Alex Kipkorir of Kabarak High School closes the top 10 top students in last year’s examination and will be admitted at Kenyatta University to study Aerospace engineering.

Overall, University of Nairobi will take in 95 of the 142 candidates who scored straight A in last year’s examinations.

Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) will admit 27 and Kenyatta University 10 students.

Moi University will take in eight with Egerton University and Technical University of Kenya (TUK) set to admit only one each.

Kenya Universities and Colleges Placement Service (KUCCPS) data released Monday reveals that candidates selected the most competitive programmes offered in the top four public universities.

The data reveals that like last year, students still preferred courses offered at JKUAT, University of Nairobi, Kenyatta University and Moi University.

Overall, students preferred engineering courses followed by medicine and architecture.

The students preferred to study these programmes in the four top universities.

The most preferred course at JKUAT was Bachelor of Science in Electrical and Electronic Engineering with some 2,384 making an application against the available capacity of only 55.

At University of Nairobi, four programmes attracted the most number of applicants.

Bachelor of Science (Civil Engineering) attracted 1,902 candidates against a capacity of 65.

Bachelor of Science in electrical and electronic engineering attracted 1,649 candidates against a declared capacity of 70.

Also at UoN, Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery that only had a capacity of 130 attracted 318, while Bachelor of Science (computer science) attracted 1,107 candidates against available capacity of 40.

More candidates were also attracted to four competitive programmes at Kenyatta University. Bachelor of Science (electrical and electronic engineering) with a capacity of only 30 attracted 1, 805 applicants.

Bachelor of Science (civil engineering) also attracted 1,886 applicants against available capacity of only 30.

Bachelor of Architecture, which has a capacity of 30 at Kenyatta University, attracted 1,527 applicants.

Unpopular universities

Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery also attracted 321 candidates against the available capacity of 50.

The same programme offered at Moi University attracted 272 students against the available 55 slots.

The analysis is an indictment on public universities that draw huge taxpayers money but have failed to mount competitive programmes.

Placement details revealed that some universities attracted no students at all, raising questions of viability of the institutions.

Only a few universities attracted students to fill at least half of their declared capacities with majority falling below 50 per cent.

Kenya National Examination Council (Knec) data shows that only 142 students managed to score the top A grade last year.

The fact that all the A students opted to study in the top public universities is a matter that Commission for University Education (CUE) must interrogate as pursuit of quality education mounts.

Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed said the ministry will punish institutions that fail to implement necessary reforms — including withdrawing their charters.

“Only a few universities have embraced the spirit of reforms to continually review their programmes to achieve high standards of teaching and learning,” said the CS.

She said that CUE quality audit for all universities and constituency colleges revealed strengths and weaknesses which must be considered.

Overall, the number of A- grades fell compared to 2016.

Only 2, 714 candidates scored A- compared to 4, 645 the previous year.

Data from Knec shows that Alliance Girls had the highest number of As, posting a total of 16.

Maranda High, Kabarak and Kenya High each had 10 As.

Moi Girls Eldoret had nine As while Pangani and Alliance Girls each had six.