The ongoing selection of students to join regular programmes in public universities this year has exposed the challenge facing qualifiers in their effort to pursue careers of their choice.
Only last week, the Joint Admissions Board, which is in charge of selecting successful Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examination candidates to universities — announced that more than 5,000 candidates who sat for the exam last year failed to fit in any of their degree choices.
This is a worrying piece of news. The fact that such a large number can fail to be picked for any of their four selected degree courses points to something seriously wrong about the candidates’ knowledge on career choices.
How can candidates who obtained a mean grade of B plain and above fail to fit in all four options selected in order of priority? Did the students not have career school teachers who could advise them on choices?
The matter is even made worse by the fact that some of the students were allowed to revise their options after the KCSE exam results were released in February. The idea was to ensure they got a chance to fine-tune the choices they made before they knew their actual grades. Certainly, this did not help them.
What the latest move means is that the affected candidates will now have to make a pick from courses that are considered less attractive. Ultimately, many of them will land courses they did not want to pursue.
This trend must be stopped. The ministry should come up with career education programmes that ensure students have adequate information on the courses offered long before the selection.
One of the options is for the ministry to resume publication of career booklets that educate candidates on requirements for each degree course. The booklets would then be sent to schools in time to enable career teachers to guide students.