Cash crisis threatens varsity dreams of 2019 KCSE stars

Teachers and parents of Kenya High school, Nairobi celebrate after Hellen Ndathi came eighth nationally with a score of A of 86 points in last year’s KCSE results. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

Revision of courses has delayed as the government weighs options over plans to spend additional Sh7.5 billion to sponsor all the 125,746 students who met university entry marks.

Sources at the Ministry of Education revealed that the government is mulling over raising the cut-off points to sponsor a manageable number of students to cut costs.

The government is also considering admitting only about 70,000 students, as was the case last year, which would mean that the 100 per cent transition to post-secondary institutions would remain a mirage.

This would however lock out 55,000 candidates who attained the university entry grade from pursuing their dream careers in universities.

Details from Ministry of Education reveal that an additional Sh7.5 billion would be required to cater for this increased number of students.

Last year, the government set aside Sh10 billion to sponsor 70,000 students.

And with the additional students qualified to join universities, the total cost may rise to about Sh17.5 billion.

On average, calculations from universities reveal that each student is allocated Sh140,000 per academic year.

Fail to apply

Further details reveal that another Sh10.5 billion will be required to absorb all the 350,000 students who qualified to join certificate and diploma courses.

This brings the cumulative budget to Sh28 billion, if the government will commit to 100 per cent transition at this level of education.

Parents and students are presently grappling with many fake links and reports circulating online purporting to notify them that revision portal is open.

A quick check on the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS) shows that the courses revision link is not active.

“Applications not open. We will update here once we open for 2019 KCSE candidates to apply,” reads a cautionary note on its website.

Another alert on the website reads: “Beware of online scam. Be advised that KUCCPS announces its programmes and activities through the mainstream mass media, its website and official Facebook and Twitter handles.”

As confusion among students and parents reigns, Sunday Standard has established that by this date, for the last three years, all candidates should have undertaken their first revision through the KUCCPS portal.

Analysis of students’ admission for the last three years shows that in 2017, the first revision was conducted between January 30 and February 17. The second revision was done between March 27 and April 1.

In 2018, the KUCCPS portal was open to students between January 24 and February 14 for their first revision. Second revision was done between March 1 and 12.

And in 2019, students undertook first courses revision between February 6 and March 4. The portal was again opened for second revision between March 15 and 22.

Based on the above analysis, it means that KUCCPS is already behind schedule having delayed to open the portal for first revision.

During second revisions, only applicants that were not placed after first revision are allowed to apply.

Applicants who meet the requirements but fail to apply or are not placed in any preferred choices after second revision are offered placement in any unfilled courses.

The first application stage takes place in schools when candidates sitting KCSE apply to the KUCCPS for courses they wish to study in universities and middle level colleges.

During first and second revision, the number of applicants placed per programme is based on merit and according to candidate’s choices.

Change of schedules

The import of the delay in first revision timelines therefore means that even the second revision will be behind schedule.

Universities managers yesterday said students reporting dates may be affected and that this may ultimately affect operations of institutions.

Universities admit government-sponsored students as early as May with majority reporting in September.

The Sunday Standard established that the delay is occasioned by the slow decision-making process by the government on whether the entire C+ and above candidates will be sponsored by the government.

The transition from primary to secondary education has been a success with nearly 98 per cent of students who sat KCPE enrolled to high schools.

Sources in government revealed that the National Treasury holds the key to successful implementation of the 100 per cent transition in post secondary institutions due to the huge budgetary implications.

It however emerged that a directive by President Uhuru Kenyatta may occasion the big shift that may see KUCCPS place all the qualified students to universities.

President Uhuru Kenyatta made similar orders to admit government-sponsored students to private universities in 2017 at a State House meeting with Vice Chancellors and council chairpersons of public and private varsities.

A national campaign to boost intakes in Technical and Vocational Education and Training has been quietly launched, targeting students who scored C+ and above – in a major shift to discount the notion that these colleges are for failures.