Thousands of KCSE 2019 candidates are eyeing Ivy League of colleges
Joseph Karanja who scored an A of 82 points from Light International Academy is among the thousands of young bright scholars from this year's Kenya Certificate of Secondary Examinations (KCSE) who are eyeing education in the prestigious Ivy League of colleges.
Students the People Daily has spoken to attribute their ambitions to study abroad on a number of issues ranging from the time consumed in the local universities and the authenticity of some of the academic programmes from these institutions.
What is even more interesting is the fact that most of these students are getting moral support from their parents, despite their economic status, and also teachers.
Karanja, a straight “A” student in his education history since he enrolled in kindergarten said from the observations he has made over time, there are so many graduates in the country from local universities who possess academic documents that are not marketable.
“There is a lot of learning time wastage in this country; so many strikes by lecturers and students ending up increasing the number of years learners take to complete their courses,” the 17-year old boy told People Daily team that caught up with him at the school in Karen yesterday.
He feels that the length of time most of the graduates spend with formal career undertaking makes most of the academic documents in their possession obsolete, and don’t respond to the modern job requirements. “Thus, after having made this observation, I feel that if I get an opportunity to study abroad, I will be able to make the much needed contribution to the society,” he added.
His parents; Wangare Karanja and Daniel Kimingi, despite their poor financial status, are raring to go to any lengths to see that their first born child achieves his life ambitions.
“He wants to pursue very sophisticated physics, and that one is not available in the local universities. He has already applied to two universities in the US that are under the Ivy League. He has even done an international exam with one of them, and scored an A. Subsequently, two of the universities are already in talks with him, and tomorrow (today), he is expecting results of an exam he has done,” his Kimingi said.
The father is negotiating with him so that he doesn’t lose that path.
His mother, Wangare said her some has been a brilliant and all-rounded child through his lower primary and secondary education.
“He’s a boy who can do exemplary well in almost all areas. He has been a role model and skills leader to other children. As a trained teacher, speaking to him, he has always confided that he either; wants to be an aeronautical engineer or medical doctor, computer scientist among other complicated science fields,” she said.
On his part, Karanja said the problems facing Kenyans, ranging from poverty; shortage of medical care; lack of services like water, quality of education in some of the country, and low technology penetration, require quick fixes.
“So, I think it is our responsibility as upcoming young scholars to give back to society the investments they have put in us. If we get opportunity to study abroad, we will be happy to do so,” Karanja who also hopes to be an economic planner in the future, added.
Karanja’s classmate at Light International Academy, Kelvin Mue who scored an A-minus with 79 points said he also wants to study abroad, an ambition influenced by his needy background.
“The school gave me a scholarship to study here because I come from a poor background, and my dreams were to get an opportunity to pursue a career in a university overseas. I realised the only way I can do that is by performing well in my KCSE, and other future career challenges,” the 17-year old who wants to pursue Finance and International Relations said.
However, he feels that the grade he got was far below his expectations. He wants to score a straight-A, but still this has not dampened his ambitions.
At Kenya High, the country's second best student, Maryanne Njeri Barasa, didn't hide her excitement of imminent prospects of proceeding to Harvard University where she intends to pursue medicine.
Asked why she chooses to pursue her higher education abroad, and reasons she doesn’t fancy local universities, Maryanne said that University of Nairobi still remains a top academic giant in the region.
“However, my choice for the Harvard is based on quick career development so that I can give back to society for nurturing me,” said the 17-year old from Mathare North Estate.
Light International Academy Principal, Ismail Kucuk said the school supports the students’ career ambitions because by studying abroad they become global citizens; unique leaders and more exposed.
Early this year, a UK media house described Kenya as a hotbed of academic dishonesty, where jobless graduates are minting millions of shillings writing thesis and term papers for students in the United Kingdom.
According to the media house, doctorate candidates pay £2,000 (Sh264,000) to £6,000 for dissertations.
“Kenya is the hotbed where the writing happens. There is high unemployment and a job working from home is coveted. They have good English and low overheads,” Dr Thomas Lancaster, a senior fellow at Imperial College, London, was quoted by the British press as saying.