Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha has appointed Agnes Wahome as Chief Executive Officer at the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS).
The appointment takes effect from February 1, for a period of five years.
Wahome now takes over from John Muraguri, who exited the placement service last year.
Ms Wahome was among the three names forwarded to Magoha after two days interviews that attracted 14 candidates for the job.
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Dr Joel Mabonga, Senior Deputy Director Corporate Services at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) and Soigwa Tom Ombasa were the other two names forwarded for consideration.
Others candidates were University of Nairobi don Prof Charles Olunga, Prof Kimani Chege Gabriel, Prof Ndiritu Francis Gichuki, Dr Alela Ernest and Dr Avutswa Nebart.
Gachari James, Wachira Mary Nyawira Muchee, Yegon Christopher Kibet, Owuor Ezekiel and Musyoki Joseph also faced the panel. More than 76 candidates expressed interest for the job.
Until her appointment, Ms Wahome had been the acting CEO of the Service.
Magoha appointed Wahome as the acting CEO after Muraguri went on terminal leave in November last year.
She now takes over the organisation that is tasked with placement of students to colleges and universities.
Her immediate task will however be managing pressure from public universities that are already pushing to have placement of students to private universities on government funding dropped and the billions used to fund state institutions.
Public Universities Vice Chancellors Committee said the billions sent to private universities annually should be channeled to bail out debt ridden public universities.
“Let it be clear that we are opposed to placing students to private universities. The policy should be reviewed to take into account the idle capacity in programs in public universities,” Geoffrey Muluvi, Vice Chancellors Committee Chairperson told MPs last year.
Wahome will also content with what other stakeholders term conflict of interest in the matter, as the VCs committee chairperson Prof Muluvi sits in the KUCCPS board that recommended her appointment.
Appearing before the National Assembly Education Committee last year, Prof Muluvi said students should only be placed to private universities in programmes not available in public universities.
Private universities have threatened to move to court to challenge the move, saying the Universities Act is explicit on mandate of the KUCCPS.
Section 56 (1) (a) mandated KUCCPS to “co-ordinate the placement of the government sponsored students to universities and colleges.”
Private universities argue that the Act does not segregate or discriminate against students placed in private universities as long as they are government sponsored.
Board chairman Joe Ager said KUCCPS is committed to ensuring a smooth transition to enable the organisation continue delivering services in line with its mandate.
Ager said the new CEO must also be capable of building organizational capability and establishing strategic directions, adept at building stakeholder relationships and networks.