Aug. 22 (Xinhua) -- About three-quarters of undergraduate students in Kenya's public universities are not studying degree courses of their choice, a new study has revealed.
The research on the status of higher education in the East African nation indicated that despite scoring highly at secondary school exit exams, most students are admitted to
courses that they do not wish to study. "It is alarming that over 85 percent of students in public universities are not studying degrees of their choice and interests despite
scoring well in Kenya Certificate of Secondary School (KCSE) exams," said the research by Gallup Africa, released in Nairobi on Wednesday.
In Kenya, Form Four graduates are selected to join public universities by Joint Admission Board (JAB). The institution is tasked with placing students in various universities for
selected degree courses. JAB considers students' marks in KCSE exams vis a vis their degree choice and capacity in each course. "Majority of students in public universities
stated that JAB did not allocate them a course of their choice. A lower percentage of students feel that they were allocated courses of their choice while a relatively lower
percent of students were indifferent about the matter," said report titled Status of Higher Education in Kenya.
Most of the students who are allocated courses of their choice, according to the research, are those undertaking bachelors in medicine, law, engineering and commerce.
Students in the courses make a paltry 3.9 percent of undergraduates in public universities in the East African nation. The research noted the practice by JAB to allow students
revise their degree choices before they join universities do not bear fruits."Virtually all students who apply for admission in public universities always revise their degree
choices after the initial application. However, majority of them still do not get admitted to their courses and university of their choice. This has remained a matter of great
public interest and concern," noted the report.
This year, over 5,000 students were asked to revise their courses by JAB. The number comprised of the about 33 percent (33, 000) of KCSE graduates who attained the
minimum university grades and thus will be joining public universities and their constituent colleges. The remaining 67 percent (86,658) did not get JAB allocation. The
contrary, however, happens in private universities where most students in the institutions study courses of their choice.Since they are not sponsored by the government,
students in private universities in the East African nation apply directly to the institution of their choice for admission and the course they want. "Students believe there is no
equity and fairness in allocation of university admission slots. Majority of students feel that JAB is not keen on ensuring fairness in allocation of university admission since it
chooses universities and courses for virtually all students in public universities but students in private universities choose their courses," said the research.
The state of dissatisfaction in public universities, according to the study, is largely the cause frequent unrests since students are not in the first place interested in learning in
imposed courses. There are over 200,000 students in Kenya's about 60 universities, both private and public. The survey calls for total revamp of the university admission
structure if Kenya is to have a labor force that can steer its economic growth."There should be total overhaul of the university admission process as the country cannot
achieve economic growth and in particular Vision 2030 when the education sector does not grow in tandem with the labor force," said the Gallup study.
To remedy the situation, the research noted that students asked that they should be allowed to apply directly to either public or private universities of their choice."Majority
of students support applying directly for a degree course in university of their choice, either public or private university. Only 7.1 percent of the students surveyed did not
support direct application noting some universities will not receive students," said the survey that interviewed 544 students across 15 counties in the East African nation.The
research further found out that university education in Kenya is being eroded due to unregulated expansion with focus shifting to number of students and courses offered
rather than quality. "Respondents noted that university education in the country has been diluted to the extent that graduates have no skills to be innovative because their
main focus is to attain the degree qualification as a stepping stone to a job," said the report.
Some private universities, the research observed, upon being chartered, engage less qualified lecturers and employ most of their teaching staff on part time."This
compromises quality of education offered and to make it worse, authorities do not have sufficient capacities to prefect these institutions on a day to day basis to check on
conformance," said the report. The research proposed that university courses in the East African nation should be structured in a way that they contribute to the attainment
of economic growth and at the same time meet market demands.
Meanwhile night traffic at DR Congo's N'Djili International airport in Kinshasa has been momentarily suspended pending completion of modernization work at the
airport, the airport's commander Georges Tabora Afata said on Tuesday.
The modernization work which is being executed by a Chinese firm Sinohydro, entails rehabilitation of the runway measuring 4,000 meters long and 60 meters wide.The
rehabilitation work is expected to be completed by the end of the month of September 2012.N'Djili international airport, whose infrastructures received slight renovation in
the past, has been among those blacklisted by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) due to poor safety measures at the airport, which do not meet the
international air traffic standards. (Xinhua)