What you need to know:
- There is a framework in place for those who upgrade their skills to study all the way to doctorate level despite having scored an E mean grade.
There is hope for the thousands of students who score a mean grade of E in the Kenya Certificate Secondary Education (KCSE) exams as they can now apply for central placement to colleges to pursue artisan courses.
Secondary school leavers who score the grade and most often get locked out of post-secondary training will now be placed through the Kenya Colleges and Universities Placement Service (KUCCPS) which is best known for placement to universities and other middle-level colleges.
There is a framework in place for those who upgrade their skills to study all the way to doctorate level despite having scored an E mean grade.
In the 2020 KCSE, 28,046 candidates had a mean score of E, which is the lowest. 15,225 of these were boys while girls were 12,821. Surprisingly, 141 candidates from national schools scored an E while only 85 from extra-county schools had the grade.
The bulk of candidates with Grade E (18,289) were from sub-county schools while private schools also had a significant number (8,080).
An analysis of Knec data shows the number of candidates getting an E has been decreasing over the past five years and was highest in 2017 when 35,536 candidates had the grade.
The agency has also, for the first time, placed 167 students to study maritime courses at the Bandari Maritime Academy in Mombasa to train more Kenyan professionals for the blue economy sector.
“Previously students who scored C and below were considered as failures but there is no failure. For those we have placed, the minimum was a C- (minus) for Diploma and D+ (Plus) for certificate courses. We hope we can take artisan courses as you develop your programs so that even those who get an E can have an opportunity to study,” said KUCCPS chief executive officer Dr Agnes Wahome.
She said that demand is high, adding that the courses will be competitive. However, she encouraged the students to work hard in English and sciences. The placement service has partnered with the academy to identify young Kenyans who can be trained for the maritime sector.
“You are the first students to be placed by KUCCPS, you are our ambassadors. You can go into our system, identify a course and within two or three months, (get) placed in Mombasa whether you come from Kakamega, Kisumu or Machakos,” added Dr Wahome on Friday.
She assured that KUCCPS will ensure that there is regional balance with students from all over the country benefiting from the maritime courses.
“We want equity to ensure that the country benefits. There are opportunities that Kenyans can take advantage of and move outside of their local areas. We want you to train for international opportunities but you must learn to speak proper English, it’s not optional,” said the KUCCPS boss.
She expressed her joy that more women are taking up maritime courses that were previously perceived to be for men.
Kenya’s first female port inspector, Betty Makena who works for the International Transport Federation at the port of Mombasa urged KUCCPS to work with maritime stakeholders to ensure they enrol more students. She too urged the students to improve their proficiency in the English language.
“We heard Health cabinet secretary Mutahi Kagwe decry over the failure of our nurses in an English proficiency test. As maritime students, take English very seriously,” said Ms Makena.
The acting director of the institution, Francis Muraya said the academy aspires to have sea time as a component of training.
“So, as you complete your studies, you will be employed quickly because you will have acquired the required sea time,” said Mr Muraya.