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Citizen Weekly

Friday, 6 March 2015

WHY EXAM STAR WILL MISS OUT PORPULAR COURSES



The entry points for popular courses in the public universities are likely to be raised after many candidates scored high grades in the just-released Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examination results.
Some 3,073 candidates scored straight As in the exam, up from 2,722 in 2013, and will be competing for the few places available in the top professional courses.
The total number of those who scored A and A– was 14,841, compared to 12,481 the previous year.
Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Services CEO John Muraguri on Friday told theSaturday Nation that he expected an increase in the number of students seeking to pursue competitive courses such as medicine, architecture, law, actuarial science, information technology and commerce.
Since such courses only admit few students, the requirements for the subject clusters will have to go up.
For example, admission to medicine requires an aggregate of 47 points in maths and three sciences, meaning an average of three As and one A-, besides strong grades in English and Kiswahili.
But this may be raised to 48 points, which is the highest — four straight As.
Out of the 450,000 students, who sat last year’s KCSE exam, 149,717 attained the minimum university entry qualification of C+, compared to 123,365 in 2013.
Those who scored B– and above were 102,289, which is more than the number the universities can admit. Grade B and above had 63,974 candidates.
REVISE SELECTIONS
On average, just a third of qualifiers get admission through the placement board, which replaced the Joint Admissions Board.
Mr Muraguri said the placement board would start the selection in May and students are expected to join the universities in September.
As has been the practice, the students will be given a chance to revise their course selections depending on how they performed, details of which will be made available through the media and the board’s website.
In the meantime, the universities are expected to furnish the placement board with the vacancies they have for all the courses by April 15.
“We will then offer the chances on merit. Top performers will definitely be given priority for the courses they have chosen,” he said.
Mr Muraguri said the available slots in the universities would determine the number of students to be admitted.
For example, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) last year had only 50 slots for medicine, 50 for law and about 400 for engineering.
This is a drop in the ocean, considering the high number of students who are bound to apply for these in-demand courses.
“This year we might be forced to admit more students by the government to accommodate the high number who passed. This will put constraints on some of the most important resources such as laboratories and classrooms,” said Prof David Murage, the acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor in charge of Academic Affairs at JKUAT.
Mr Muraguri could not, however, say if the government would increase the cut-off for this year’s university placement.
“The decision on whether to raise the cut-off will only be reached after analysing the results and capacities of all universities,” he said.
But Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang said most of those who passed should enrol for diploma and certificate courses.
He said that due to industrial growth, there were more openings for certificate and diploma holders.