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Course choices to blame for skills gap

Thursday April 12 2018


The University of Nairobi did not fill up 100 per cent of the slots offered to students. FILE PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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The huge skills gap confronting companies in Kenya can today be gleaned from the latest data on student choices for higher education.

Data released this week shows that public universities and colleges are struggling to find takers for their courses, raising questions on their viability and relevance to the job market.

The situation is worse for diploma and certificate courses, where the intake shows extra capacity of more than 80 per cent, suggesting that the practical courses are uninteresting to many students despite being the most marketable.

For instance, most universities were unable to enrol 50 per cent of the students they had admitted while others barely admitted any student for some courses.

The crisis is depicted in both public and private universities, raising questions on how these institutions will teach classes that have attracted very few students or none at all.

Giant institutions such as the University of Nairobi, Egerton, Kenyatta and Moi did not fill up 100 per cent of the slots offered to students.


Private universities on the other hand seem to have offered weaker courses to government-sponsored students, suggesting that they could have reserved the stronger courses for self-sponsored students.

For instance, Daystar University, one of the leaders in communication studies, left out the course from the slots it had opened for government-sponsored students.

Students seem to have avoided courses such as Bachelor of Science on Soil Environment and Land Use Management, Wildlife Enterprise and Management, Environmental Science and Agribusiness Management.

Other courses that did not attract any student in various universities include Theology, Geography and Natural Resource Management, Community Development, Early Childhood and Special Education, Climate Change, Music, and Events Management.

Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed said universities need to revise their courses to attract more students.

“Whereas some universities filled their capacities 100 per cent, others recorded extremely low student placements,” she said.

Institutions such as Bomet University attracted only 3.8 per cent of the targeted students to its available courses.

The university had opened slots for 500 students but enlisted only 21, with the majority of courses attracting one or no student.

Tangaza University College registered only 24 students, representing 4.2 per cent of the 545 places offered.

Tharaka Nithi University College enrolled only 5.8 per cent, representing 12 students of the targeted 240, with most courses attracting no student.

Some courses with a targeted capacity of 100 students per class attracted less than 10, raising concerns on how the institutions would teach such classes.

Turkana University enrolled only four students, from the 320 slots provided, while Umma University attracted only 26 students to its 1,300 slots.

Institutions such as Scot Christian College and International Leadership University, which offer mainly theological courses, did not attract any student to these courses.

Scot Christian University enrolled only 13 students for the 1,500 slots available, while International University did not attract any student.

Other institutions such as Marist International University attracted only eight students, representing two per cent of the 400 slots provided, while Great Lakes University of Kisumu and Pan African University signed up only 85 and 40 students, respectively.