Expansion of technical and vocational education has suffered a setback after more than 30,000 candidates turned down opportunities to join institutions offering the courses.
Out of the 41,550 capacity in 50 middle-level colleges, only 11,523 candidates who sat the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination in 2014 applied for admission, which is set for September.
However, admission to 31 public universities has increased, with 67,790 students set to join the institutions in September, compared to 57,250 last year.
The government is putting up 70 technical colleges. It wants to ensure each constituency has a technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institution. This financial year, the National Treasury allocated Sh3 billion to technical institutions across the country.
The Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service, which is tasked with the admission of students into institutions of higher learning, has blamed the negative attitude towards technical colleges on parents and students.
“We have to encourage students to join TVET institutions. Parents should also change their perception of these institutions. At the moment, almost every student wants to join university yet we have limited space at these institutions,” said Mr Muraguri.
However, Mr Muraguri disclosed that medical courses, architecture, engineering, computer science and actuarial science attracted the highest number of applications.
Only 316 students across the country have been selected to pursue medical courses, with the University of Nairobi taking the highest number (120).
Allocations to other institutions are as follows: Kenyatta University (50), Moi University (43), Egerton University (33), Jomo Kenyatta University of Science and Technology (30) and Maseno University (40).
A total of 483,630 candidates sat the KCSE examination in 2014, and 3,073 scored an overall mean grade of A; 11,768 scored an A-; 19,814 scored B+; 29,319 scored B; 38,315 scored B-; 47,428 scored C+; and 58,688 scored C.
Another 70,677 candidates scored C-; 76,198 scored D+; with 73,501 scoring D; 47,716 D-; and 5,636 E.
Kenyatta University will get the highest number of students at 5,942 while Kirinyaga University College will have the lowest at 534.
Kenya Medical Training College will admit 4,860 students, while Emining Technical Training Institute will admit 120.
Mr Muraguri said through affirmative action, 946 students who come from marginalised areas will join public universities, while another 363 will be joining the institutions based on their gender.