By Augustine Oduor (The Standard Newspaper)
ABOUT 80,000 students who sat last years form four national examinations can now breath a sigh of relief after the placement board approved their admission to the various universities and colleges.
The Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS) board yesterday adopted the final list generated after the completion of first and second courses revisions exercises.
Documents seen by the Standard reveal that some 67, 790 students have been selected to pursue degree programs in the 31 pubic universities this year.
This is an increase of about 10, 500 students from last year’s placement.
Another 11, 523 students will join the 50 middle level colleges under the diploma programs.
Of the 483, 630 candidates sat last year’s KCSE examinations, only 149, 717 scored the minimum university entry grade of C+. Some 123, 365 candidates attained the same grade in 2013.
KUCCPS Chief Executive Officer John Muraguri said all selected students must report in September.
“The board met today (yesterday) and approved the 2015/16 placement list. It shall be ratified during the stakeholder meeting to be held on July21, 2015 and after that students will get calling letters,” said Muraguri.
“All the selected students will receive a mobile phone text message with details of courses and institutions they have been selected to join,” said Muraguri.
The document reveals that some 1, 493 students have benefited from the affirmative action based on the three categories of gender, minority groups and persons with disability.
The board set the cut-off point for placement to degree programs at B of 60 points for male candidates and B- (Minus) of 58 points for female candidates.
And for the first time, two students with mental disability and another two with speech disorder have been selected to join universities.
Previously, only the physically challenged and students with hearing impairment applied to be considered for university slots, according to the documents.
Muraguri said this year’s selection yielded more success as 59, 688 students were placed in the programs they chose during first or second revision.
“This is about 88 per cent of the total placements. Last year, of the 56, 938 students who were laced by the service, 48, 719 got courses they selected in first or second revision, representing some 85 per cent of total placement,” said Muraguri.
He said the improvement means that students are becoming more informed on how to make choices.
“We have had cases where students pick all the competitive courses for top three choices. They end up missing all even after they scored high marks,” said Muraguri.
“We shall however continue to sensitise students through career fairs in schools, agricultural shows and education days,” said Muraguri.
Moi University will admit 5, 826 students, being biggest number this year.
Kenyatta University is second with some 5, 650 students as University of Nairobi admits 5, 550 students.
Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology (MMUST) will admit 3, 900 students as Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) takes in 3, 600 students.
Maseno University will admit 3, 455 while Egerton will take in some 3,051 students.
Muraguri yesterday expressed concern over diploma programs saying placement is still very low.
“Of the 44, 468 declared capacities in middle level colleges only 11, 523 slots have been taken up,” said Muraguri.
Last year, only 15, and 000 slots were taken up under diploma programs.
He said this year; some 2, 300 students have been placed to study various programs at the Kenya Medical Training College (KMTC)
“Last year we placed over 4,000 students. The drop is largely because the KMTC also advertised to admit students. As KUCCPS we do not recognize those ones,” said Muraguri.
He said many students may have been misled by the KMTC adverts. “But we still continue to receive applications to the various diploma programs,” he said.
Medicine still remained the most competitive program across all the universities.
Dental science, engineering (civil and electrical), architecture, pharmacy, and actuarial science were also ranked most competitive in that order.
The least applied for programs were Bachelor of education (music) and Bachelor of Arts (music).
Anthropology, ethno botany and Bachelor of education (Physical education) also had least applicants.