How schools failed 2020 KCSE learners on course selection

Wednesday, August 18th, 2021 00:00 |
Education CS George Magoha during release of the 2021/22 student placement report in Nairobi, yesterday. Photo/PD/John Ochieng

A total of 7,931 out of 10,437 secondary schools are on the spot for failing to guide the 2020 Form Four candidates on which courses to pursue at the university and college level, it emerged yesterday.

Shocking revelation was made by Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha when he released the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (Kuccps) results of students who were placed to join universities and colleges for the 2021/22 cycle at Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development.

Prof Magoha revealed that out of the 10,437 secondary schools that were registered exam centres, only 2,506 (24 per cent) submitted candidates’ choices.

The CS immediately directed Teachers Service Commission to address the sorry situation, which resulted in thousands of the candidates missing their preferred courses due to lack of proper guidance. 

Revelation means that the vast majority of the candidates were forced to pick their preferred courses after finishing Form Four, with no proper guidance from their teachers.

Bad indictment

Yesterday, the CS warned that henceforth, administrators of secondary schools that do not facilitate course selection for their Form Four learners will not be spared. 

“We have continued to observe low participation by schools in this process. This is a bad indictment on our career teachers, who must have failed to carry out their duty,” said the CS, adding that: “If the institution fails to forward applications for candidates, that is systemic failure and I urge TSC to address this.

I would understand if a student refuses to select courses but if a centre refuses, then action must be taken against it because they are not training candidates to have confidence in themselves.”

Magoha said the selection for courses at colleges and universities usually begins at the school level.

Teachers, especially those in charge of career departments, he said, are usually expected to guide their candidates to ensure they prudently select degree, diploma, certificate and artisan programmes depending on their choices and academic abilities.

The CS also said the ministry has noted reluctance in some regions where most KCSE candidates failed to apply for courses in TVET or universities.

Most affected regions were Mandera, Garissa and Wajir counties. “This is against the government’s policy of leaving no one behind in the education sector.

We appeal to leaders in the affected counties to encourage and mobilise their young people, who have qualified for admission to universities and colleges to apply each year,” said the CS. 

He also condemned cases where candidates, perhaps for lack of proper guidance, end up selecting competitive courses in all the four expected slots.

He cited situations where a candidate selects a course in medicine in all the four options available.

This means that should the candidate fail to meet minimum cluster points, they have minimised chances of joining other competitive courses.

With regards to placement, the CS said all the 70 public and private universities declared 167,046 vacancies for qualified candidates.

Of the 142,540 candidates who qualified, 134,690 (95 per cent) applied for courses of their choice and were placed, while 7,850 (five per cent) did not apply at all.

Of those who applied, 128,073 (90 per cent) were placed in degree programmes and 6,617 (five per cent) to TVETs.

University admission

“I am happy to note that candidates who qualify for university admission are increasingly embracing TVET courses despite having attained grades to join university.

In the 2020 KCSE, 6,617 students who attained C+ and above chose TVET programmes and were placed, up from 2,632 in 2019,” the CS said.

Of those candidates who qualified for the degree but applied for TVET, one scored A (plain), 19 others had A- (minus), 98 scored B+ (plus), 363 had B (plain), while 1,113 and 5,023 scored B- (minus) and C+ (plus), respectively.

Public TVET institutions presented 308,339 slots for student placement.

A total of 594,987 candidates of the 2020 examination were eligible for placement into diploma, certificate, Craft and Artisan courses.

However, 137,072 applied for the available slots (44 per cent of the capacity), and all of them have been placed.

Kuccps chief executive Dr Agnes Wahome also called for guidance when candidates are making selection, even as she also raises concern over the number of schools that submit the courses chosen.

She, however, said that candidates were given a chance to revise their courses once the KCSE 2020 results were out to align it with their interests and performances.

Students can send an SMS to 20842 to get the details of the courses they selected and universities they have been placed.

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