All the 88,929 candidates who scored between A and C+ in this year’s Form Four examination will get places in public universities, Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i said on Thursday.
Dr Matiang’i also said a drop was recorded in the number of candidates who scored the minimum university entry mean grade requirement as a result of the strict administration and accurate marking of the exams.
“The number of candidates with minimum university entry qualification of mean grade C+ and above was 88,929 (15.41 per cent) in the 2016 KCSE examination compared to 169,492 (32.23 per cent) in 2015,” said Dr Matiang’i while releasing the results at Shimo la Tewa High School in Mombasa. “These can all be absorbed.”
The Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec) chairman, Prof George Magoha said: “These are genuine results and, even with a C-plus, you can be anything you want to be.”
Lamenting that universities were currently admitting fake As for courses such as medicine, Prof Magoha decried the high number of university students who were dropping out despite having scored highly in the Form Four exam.
The government this year deployed technology, strict supervision and centralised marking to stamp out cheating in national exams, a move that has drastically cut the number of top grades.
TOP GRADES REDUCED
In this year’s KCSE, only 141 candidates scored plain As, numbers which were achieved by one school in past exams.
In 2015, the candidates with an overall mean grade of A were 2,636, a drop from the 3,073 in 2014.
The sharp reduction in top grades will raise questions as to how the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS) — the body charged with admitting students to public universities — will allocate coveted courses such as medicine, architecture, engineering, computer science and actuarial science.
There are also concerns that the number of middle-level college places might not be enough for those who cannot join universities.
This year, the government increased the number of State-sponsored students to 84,389.
Out of these, 12,000 were allocated to private universities under a government sponsorship programme at a cost of Sh700,000.
The minimum entry requirement for male students to benefit from the programme was reduced to grade B- of 58 points for males and B- of 56 points for female candidates.
This means the students who sat KCSE in 2015 were admitted in private universities such as Daystar, Mount Kenya, USIU and Strathmore.
A sharp rise in State-sponsored university students has exerted pressure on the capacity of the Higher Education’s Loans Board (Helb) to offer funding, as well stretching facilities in universities, which have seen unprecedented expansion in recent years.