Nairobi wins universities’ race for top brains in country
Posted Friday, August 24 2012 at 23:30
- Seven of top 10 candidates in last year’s KCSE exam to study medicine as 31 of best in each of the 47 counties qualify to be picked for various degree courses
- The University of Nairobi will admit the highest number of trainee doctors, 145. It is followed by Moi (62), Kenyatta (58) and Egerton (46). Maseno will admit 44
- A lot is needed to develop the concept of centres of excellence in every part of the country to ensure that schools with adequate facilities come up and give their students a chance to compete with the perennial high performers
The top 10 performers in last year’s national Form Four examinations were admitted to the University of Nairobi in a move indicative of a popularity contest in the local public universities’ regular programmes.
An analysis of the admission data released this week shows that seven of the 10 got their wish – to study medicine and surgery at the premier institution.
The data was prepared by the Joint Admissions Board (JAB) – the grouping of vice-chancellors and principals of university colleges in charge of the selections – after they finalised the selection at Egerton University last week.
Based on the results, public universities have started inviting students to report to their campuses under a new programme meant to reduce the years candidates wait to join institutions of higher learning.
The “acceleration” programme aims at cutting the period from two years to one.
Job Naliaka, who topped the 2011 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) rankings, is among those joining the medicine course. The St Peter’s Seminary, Kakamega, student scored a mean grade A with an 87.13 aggregate.
Other top performers who will be joining the University of Nairobi’s medicine and surgery class include the third-ranked boy, Evans Odhiambo of Alliance High School, Sidney Oirere (fifth, Maranda High), Gacigua Ruhiu (sixth, Starehe Boys Centre) and Faith Aseta (seventh, Moi Girls - Eldoret).
Also to join the class are ninth-placed Tyson Manyala of Maranda and Buyaki Oisebe (Precious Blood - Riruta), who was ranked 10th.
Among the top 10 candidates, only Gikonyo Gitau (pharmacy), Chelagat Lonyangapuo (civil engineering) and Kariuki Murimi have been picked to study courses other than medicine.
The three were ranked second, fourth and eighth, respectively, in the KCSE results released by the then Education Minister, Prof Sam Ongeri.
More popular to students
Prof Ongeri has since been moved to Foreign Affairs and his place taken up by Mr Mutula Kilonzo.
The fact most of the students selected to study at the university is a clear pointer that it is more popular to students than the rest of the institutions. There are seven full-fledged public universities and about 31 constituent colleges in Kenya. (Read: 76,000 to miss out on public varsities places)
On Friday, JAB secretary Benjamin Waweru explained that individual universities selected students according to the demand for their courses. They could not choose whom to pick since the candidates are allowed to select and even revise their degree choices, he added.
“What it means is that it is the students who determine the competition to each degree course in any of the universities,” Mr Waweru said of the computerised selection process that has for a long time been praised for being fair and transparent.
“If all the top students selected the University of Nairobi, then it means they all selected it and met the entry cut-off point.”
Among the 47 counties, 31 candidates – or 65 per cent – who emerged first in each of the regions qualified to join the university.
Other universities sharing the cream of the counties include Jomo Kenyatta, which will admit five of the top performers, and Kenyatta, which will take four.