Concern as Form Four leavers shun colleges

Wednesday, February 10th, 2021 00:00 |
Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service Chief Executive Mercy Wahome during an interview in Nairobi, yesterday. Photo/PD/Alex Mburu

The government yesterday raised a red flag that majority of Form Four leavers are shunning places in tertiary colleges in favour of universities.

Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS) said there are 36,000 places available in such institutions but expressed fears that only 6,000 are likely to apply, raising a serious skills gap.

KUCCPS’s Chief Executive Officer Mercy Wahome says that lack of information on the job market, lack of career guidance and skills mismatch between the learners on what the job market offers has led to many students undertaking courses  that are not marketable.

 “We have opportunities but very few are ready to take them. It is  a countrywide problem where you will rarely find a young person committed to taking a vocational course,” she said.

 Wahome wondered why youths ignore   the chances yet they are fully paid for by the government.

With the deadline set for Saturday, Wahome appealed to interested applicants to  apply for the available vacancies.

Requisite skills

“This opportunity is for any Kenyan youth with any grade in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examination and has never secured a course through KUCCPS,” the agency noted.

 Applicants with an overall grade of C minus and above will be allowed to make a maximum of eight choices; four for diploma and four for craft certificate programme.

Wahome said funds from the Higher Education Loans Board were available to students enrolled in technical institutions.

The government’s placement agency observed that undue pressure on non-technical courses has weighed down universities over the years yet huge investments made in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET)institutions remained underutilised. 

This situation, according to Wahome, needs to be addressed to ensure the nation gets requisite skills in an effort to achieve middle-income status by 2030.

 “Our government is committed to ensuring that we have catered for all their needs.

These students will get money from the government that will sustain their stay in school until the end,” she said.

  The government has been pushing forward the industrialisation agenda in which the skills acquired in TVET institutes and polytechnics will play a bigger role.

At the same time, Wahome dismissed the possibility of a crisis after the Form Four exams mid this year, assuring learners that placement will be done immediately.

  “We do not foresee a situation where learners will be confused. We have put enough measures in place to ensure once the results are out, we will also commence placing them to various learning centres,” she said.

 Last year, students lost close to one year at home due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. 

At the same time, Wahome defended the decision to place students in private universities, maintaining that placement is usually done on the basis of merit and choice.

  There has been 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.

 “Placement is usually a competitive process, which is usually done by serious professionals,” she said.

 Public Universities Vice-Chancellors Committee said the billions sent to private universities annually should be channeled to bail out debt-ridden public universities.

 Wahome said they have also partnered with Kenya National Qualifications Agency to help learners who may want to advance their studies to degree from a diploma or those who have done a degree and may also wish to pursue a diploma.

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