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Minimum entry requirements to universities, colleges set to be reviewed

EDUCATION
By Augustine Oduor | November 15th 2021
Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Services (KUCCPS) CEO Dr Agnes Mercy Wahome. [File, Standard]

Minimum entry requirements to universities and colleges are set to be reviewed.

This comes after it emerged that many students are locked out of their dream careers for not meeting certain subject grades.

Experts argue that some subjects needed for certain courses are highly weighted, yet they are not critical in training, while in other cases, some crucial subjects needed are omitted or less emphasised.

This has led to many complaints, as students miss their dream courses because the subject clusters, which spell out minimum mandatory requirements for various programmes were last reviewed three years ago.

Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS) Chief Executive Officer Mercy Wahome said the review was necessary since the last one was done in 2017.

Universities vice-chancellors, academic registrars and representatives of the professional bodies will meet today at Kenyatta University to discuss proposals on entry requirements to the various courses.

A similar stakeholders meeting for middle-level colleges will be held next week, where admission criteria for diplomas and certificates will be reviewed.

In a letter dated November 5, Dr Wahome, said that KUCCPS had been using the degree cluster document, as the criteria for placement of government-sponsored students to universities.

“Over the past placement cycles, KUCCPS received concerns and suggestions from training institutions and other stakeholders on the need to review the criteria,” she said.

Responding to the concerns, Wahome said an Independent Criteria Review Committee (ICRC) was established to receive, collate and analyse the proposed changes for degree and TVET programmes.

“The committee looked into each cluster for the degree programmes and the respective minimum subject grade requirements and taking into account the requirements provided by professional or regulatory bodies and proposals from the training institutions," reads the letter to VCs and Academic Registrars.

Speaking during a media engagement workshop last week, Wahome said regulatory bodies, training institutions and in some cases employers have raised questions over the minimum entry requirements used for some courses.

“It has been a difficult time because regulatory bodies want this, the training institutions also say this requirement ought to be adjusted this way and this puts KUCCPS at a difficult spot,” Wahome said.

Teachers and students pursuing agriculture-based courses may be the greatest beneficiaries if the placement criteria are revised.

For instance, students studying agriculture-related courses are currently required to have C+ in Biology and Chemistry.

In the new proposals, however, this requirement has been reduced to a C plain for both subjects. Agriculture (C+) has also been introduced as an alternative to the C plain in Biology.

The trend for the last four years reveals that Bachelor of Education receives the most applications during revisions. Bachelor of Commerce ranks second among the most selected programmes, with Bachelor of Pharmacy emerging third.

Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Quantity Surveying, Bachelor of Architectural Studies and Law are also preferred by students.

Bachelor of Science (electrical and electronics engineering), Bachelor of Engineering and Bachelor of Medicine close the top 10 most popular programmes that attract the most applicants.

Trends based on KUCCPS data show that medicine, pharmacy, engineering, architecture and economics remain the most preferred courses by the top-performing candidates.

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