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2019 KCSE giants to miss out on dream courses

By Augustine Oduor | April 4th 2020

Shock awaits thousands of students set to miss out on their preferred degree courses this year when the placement results are released late next month.

Saturday Standard has established that as second revision of courses gets underway, many students who qualified for degree courses did not secure a placement.

It also emerged that several other students who qualified for degree courses but failed to submit an application may be locked out of their dream fields of study in the next two weeks.

First revision

Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS) opened its portal for a two-week second revision exercise which started on Thursday April 2 and will be closed on April 15.

Data seen by Saturday Standard reveal that some 36,522 students who scored C+ and above have not been allocated even one of the degree courses they selected.

The details emerged after results of the first revision were released by the KUCCPS.

This category of students are the eligible 2019 KCSE graduates who applied for placement to degree programmes during the school application or during the first revision but were not placed because they could not competitively secure any of their submitted choices.

This is about one third of the 125,448 candidates who posted minimum university entry grades in last year’s KCSE examinations. It also emerged that another 6,654 candidates who sat last year’s national examinations and qualified for degree courses did not make any applications at all.

These are KCSE graduates who attained C+ and above and were eligible for placement to degree programmes but failed to submit applications either through their schools (centre application) or during the first revision of choices.

A recent KUCCPS report reveals that high school heads deliberately fail to make university and tertiary colleges applications for candidates at school level, compromising their prospects to pursue their dream careers.

This could be the reason many students failed to submit applications this year. For the past three years, high school principals failed to send applications for some 1.6 million children who sat KCSE.

In 2018, although 664,592 candidates sat the examinations, only a fraction, 85,769, of applications were received.

All schools are supposed to create an account where principals apply for students’ placement to universities or colleges.

Overall, some 43,176 candidates are at risk of missing out on their dream careers this year if they fail to effect necessary changes during the ongoing second revision.

A statement by KUCCPS Chief Executive Officer John Muraguri, says candidates who completely missed out on the degree programmes can revise their choices.

He also said those who failed to make any application at all can take advantage of the second revision window to submit their choices.

“The applicants will be required to select new choices from the degree, diploma and craft/artisan certificate courses unfilled capacities and which are also listed on the agency website,” said Mr Muraguri.

The students will have a total of 18 choices open to them when making applications. Of these are six options for degree courses, four for diploma programmes and a similar number for craft certificates options.

Another four options will be available for artisan certificate courses. There are 529-degree courses, 215 diploma programmes, 109 certificate courses and 137 artisan courses available to the students.

Dream courses

What is however emerging is that even after both first and second revision exercises are completed by end of next month, more students will still have missed out on their dream courses compared to the previous year.

Last year, only 70,000 students who sat KCSE in 2018 were placed in degree courses.

The relatively small number of candidates who qualified in that year (2018) meant that more options were available to them during selection and placement.

For instance, in 2018 only 315 candidates scored grade A compared to 627 last year. Another 3,417 scored grade A- in 2018 compared to 5,417 last year. Yet, these are the category of students’ who scramble for the competitive courses.

Sources at the KUCCPS revealed the increased number of students who scored grade C+ and above and the huge number of quality grades last year pushed up the scramble for the competitive courses.

Overall, a total of 90,377 posted the university entry grade in 2018 compared to 125,448 last year. An analysis of most competitive courses for the past four years shows that medicine, pharmacy, engineering, architecture and economics remained the most preferred courses by the top performing candidates.

Overall, education has been the most preferred course by students during applications followed by commerce, pharmacy, arts, quantity surveying, architectural studies and law.

Bachelor of science (electrical and electronics engineering) and bachelor of engineering also rank high up among most preferred courses.

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