Don't let poverty block any students' progress

Teachers of Mudasa Academy celebrate their performance of 10.4 points at the school compound as KCSE 2023 results were announced. [Michael Mute, Standard]

Education CS Ezekiel Machogu released the 2023 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination results yesterday. A total of 899,453 candidates wrote the examinations. Some 1,216 of them scored grade A, 7,254 scored A- while 18,078 got B+ and 36,728 candidates got B plain. Another 59,514 scored B-, 78,343 C+, 92,612 C plain while 107,471 attained grade C-.

The move lays to rest anxieties that had built up during the wait, and now the candidates should prepare to embark on the next and most critical phase of their education journey. Those who could not make the threshold of university admission should consider taking up courses in technical and vocational education training colleges.

Last year, the government introduced a new university and colleges' funding model. Students who qualify for placement to these institutions are eligible for scholarships and loans. This model varies from the Higher Education Loans Board by pegging its assistance on financial needs classified as vulnerable, extremely needy, and less needy. 

Under this model, students from rich backgrounds will get more in terms of loans and less scholarships while the less financially able will get more scholarship funds than loan amounts. This was expected to offer an even playing ground for all. However, in an unexpected twist, the government later announced that all students will have to pay part of the fees under the new funding formula.

That decision might sound a death knell for the education of students from extremely needy families.

It is therefore incumbent upon the government to facilitate all those who qualify for tertiary education without giving excuses. It is bad enough that most universities are wallowing under huge debt, hence timely release of higher education funds to universities and colleges could ease the pressure. It is in the public domain that public universities are struggling to stay afloat due to underfunding that adversely affects their programmes.

The government should clear roadblocks in the way to tertiary education for all deserving students. It is not enough for students to post good grades. They should be funded to achieve their career dreams.

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