KCSE: 15,000 C+ Students Refuse Universities, Prefer Plumbing & Masonry

Their is a general belief that every student who sits for the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) would want to join one of the universities in Kenya. Well, not anymore.

It seems this is no longer the case after 15,547 candidates who scored C+ and above in the 2020 KCSE examination turned down a chance to join university. This means that 10.8 percent of the 143,140 students who qualified to join universities have no intention of joining university.

According to the Ministry of Education, these students preferred technical courses like plumbing – and where they believe they can become self-sufficient as employers and not employees as is often the case when one settles for a more theoretical education at the university.

Data obtained from the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS) shows that 10,707 candidates who sat for the secondary exams did not apply for degree courses despite meeting the minimum qualifications.

Another 4,840 applied for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges.

“TVETs are seen to match well with the competency based curriculum (CBC) that is phasing out the popular 8-4-4 system,” said one teacher who spoke to Mwanahabari.co.ke.

The CBC system puts emphasis on practical skills among learners as opposed to theory learning.

Meanwhile, KUCCPS announced that it had reopened its application portal to allow 32,718 candidates a chance to reapply for courses of their choice.

131,833 candidates had applied to be considered for placement in TVETs and universities, only 94,275 candidates were placed in degree courses of their choice.

“All efforts are being made to track 10,707 candidates with C+ and above who failed to apply for courses in universities ‘in the spirit of leaving no one behind’,” said KUCCPS chief executive Agnes Wahome.

That more students are preferring TVETs, is a sign that efforts to grow enrolment in these institutions is coming to fruition.

Over the past four years, nearly all students scoring C+ and above were admitted to the regular university programmes, but not anymore.

But why would students turn down such an opportunity?

“I know many people from my village who scored As and went on to join universities, but have been jobless for years. Some of them are back in the village doing odd jobs. That is why I applied for a diploma in masonry works and not supplies management as I had earlier planned,” Dickson who sat his KCPE in 2020 and scored a C+ told Mwanahabari.co.ke.

It seems the focus is shifting from white collar jobs to blue collar jobs with many looking to study courses like plumbing which were initially ignored – yet are very lucrative especially with the explosion of real estate business.