What awaits underage students joining university
Minors will be among the 125,746 candidates slated to join university next year.
Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha has indicated that some of the best performers in this year’s KCSE exam were under 16 years.
He said eight students aged under 16 scored straight As while two others obtained A- (minus).
This means they will be 17 years when they join university next year, and, therefore, ineligible to obtain national identity cards (ID).
Critically, the students will be unable to access the Higher Education Loans Board (Helb) funding, which requires them to have identity cards and the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) Pin Number.
Davies Nyakagwa, who joined Maseno University at 17 years, said he could not access Helb loan because he was a minor.
“I could not apply for the loan in First Year. I only received the loan in Second Year when I had acquired an ID,” he said.
“They are basically kids in university lectures halls. We are forced to parent them both in the halls and outside university,” says Rose Anyango of Maseno University.
This situation can be attributed to early enrolment and the possibility that they may have skipped some elementary classes.
During admission of such minors, some universities demand birth certificates and letters from chiefs.
Speaking to People Daily, Prof Rose, who teaches music, said universities face challenges especially when such students fall into trouble outside the institutions because they have no national identity documents.