Enrolment in polytechnics is still way below capacity as school-leavers who fail to qualify for university shun the technical training institutes.
Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i said that despite the government spending billions of shillings to rehabilitate and equip the polytechnics, they were still viewed as catering for those “who failed Form Four exams”.
Releasing the 2015 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination results Thursday, Dr Matiang’i said only a third of the candidates would secure university places and the rest would have to join polytechnics.
He cited one such institution, which he did not name, saying it has a capacity for 1,300 students, but only 265 have enrolled.
“We need to do more to educate and encourage our children that opportunities for growth and to pursue other courses have been opened up in these institutions,” said the CS.
“We should depart from the attitude that they are meant for those who do not make the cut. Even students who scored good marks can enrol in these institutions,” said Dr Matiang’i.
The CS said the government planned to have at least one technical institute in each of the 290 constituencies, adding that 60 had been established and another 70 would be opened in the next financial year.
Once the institutes are all open, about 290,000 places will be available to Form Four leavers, who do not make it to university.
“We are putting aside close to Sh16 billion to develop the technical institutions,” said Dr Matiang’i.
Eight polytechnics had been upgraded to national status and now offer degree programmes.
The CS lamented that despite the huge demand for technical expertise, 78 per cent of students going to university preferred to study the arts and humanities, with only 22 per cent taking science, technology, engineering and mathematics-related courses.
“To achieve Vision 2030, we have to train students in areas that are relevant and important to the economy,” he said.
The government would spend Sh3.4 billion on examination fees for Standard Eight and Form Four candidates this year.
He warned school heads against demanding examination fees from parents.