State moves to address woes of students applying for courses

Ezekiel Machogu

Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu.

Photo credit: Billy Ogada | Nation Media Group

The government has moved in to address the challenges thousands of Form Four leavers are facing as they try to apply for courses in colleges and universities.

This comes a day after Nation highlighted the plight of those applying through the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS).

The portal was opened on February 7, however, using e-Citizen has been a nightmare and students have been burning the midnight oil to try and apply for courses.

According to data from the Ministry of Education, as of February 25, some 121,391 students who obtained a grade C+ and above in the 2023 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination had applied for various courses.

This accounts for 60.8 per cent of the 199,695 students who scored a mean grade of C+ and above in the exams.

“The Ministry of Education has taken note of the challenges that some students have faced in the ongoing application process,” said Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu.

Technical team

The CS said the ministry and other stakeholders in government are working together to ensure that the challenges are addressed and all applicants are facilitated to apply for programmes and institutions of their choice.

A technical team comprising representatives from relevant agencies has also been put together to fast-track the application transactions.

However, the CS advised applicants whose payments are experiencing unusual delays to use the USSD code *222# to confirm their payments and/or trigger validation.

“A detailed procedure for the process is to be disseminated by KUCCPS immediately,” added the CS.

Mr Machogu said the ministry is committed to ensuring that all eligible applicants are given a chance and that no student is  left behind in the process.

The initial application deadline of February 22 had been pushed forward to February 26 (yesterday.)

“Over this period, the Ministry of Education has been monitoring the process to ensure that all the targeted applicants have a fair, efficient and effective opportunity to apply for their desired courses,” said the CS.

Based on the application pattern of the 2022 KCSE candidates who had obtained a mean grade of C+ and above, Mr Machogu said it is projected that 86 per cent of the 2023 KCSE candidates with C+ and above (171,738) will apply for placement.

The CS said the remaining 14 per cent are expected to seek opportunities in non-participating universities, Module II Programmes or institutions of higher learning in other countries.

“This means that as of February 25, 2022, 70 per cent of all the targeted applicants with C+ and above had applied for placement,” he added.

Mr Machogu said the ministry has instructed the placement agency to extend the deadline of application for seven more days, until March 4.

He advised students who scored mean grades of between C and E to take advantage of the ongoing applications to select their desired diploma, craft certificate or artisan programmes offered in the Technical Vocational Education Training (Tvet) institutions.

“This category of students has the advantage of walking into their preferred Ministry of Education Tvet institutions to be assisted with the application process,” he added.

On Sunday, KUCCPS chief executive officer Dr Agnes Wahome acknowledged the frustrations parents and students are experiencing as they make their applications.

However, Dr Wahome assured all stakeholders that the application deadline will be extended until the government is sure no one is disadvantaged.

Dr Wahome blamed e-Citizen for inconveniencing students, saying the process of payment validation is longer than before thus significantly affecting KUCCPS.

 “We did away with school applications so everyone is a first-time applicant. We are now on eCitizen. The process of payment validation is longer than before and this has affected us significantly. The success of an application is not dependent on the time of day,” said Dr Wahome.

In a statement, the placement boss said KUCCPS will have two revision exercises to allow those who will not have applied or will not have secured a course.

However, for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), KUCCPS has two other placements in the year.

For Kenya Medical Training College, Dr Wahome said there is another placement for the September class.

Dr Wahome said the number of applicants selecting degree programmes is higher than those applying for TVET courses so far.

KUCCPS is working with Huduma Centres and various universities and colleges to guide applicants.