Students who missed popular varsity courses cry foul

Michael Mumo, sat his KCSE last year and scored A-
Michael Mumo, sat his KCSE last year and scored A-

What’s the point of burning the midnight oil to pursue a degree and the placement board will eventually determine what you will study in the university?

Michael Muma, 18, asks himself this question every day after he was not selected to study medicine or a course that is science-related even after attaining the required points.

Muma, who sat his KCSE exams last year at Sunshine Secondary School and scored an A- of 76 points, tells of how he was called to study Bachelors of Arts in Masinde Muliro University, a course he says he didn’t apply for.

“I don’t even know what people do in that course. All I wanted was to do medicine or any course that is science-related. I am not interested in being a teacher,” says Muma.

He says he selected four courses and was not placed in any of his options. “My first option was Medicine at Nairobi University, chemical engineering was my second option at Technical University of Kenya, my third option was biomedical engineering at Kenyatta University and the last course I chose was laboratory science at Jomo Kenyatta University of Science and Agriculture,” Muma said.

“Before we cleared school we were told by officers from the placement board that they usually select students based on their first selections. I was sure that even if I was not going to do medicine I would get a chance in my other options.”

Having missed the opportunity to do the course he applied for, he later applied to do a parallel course at the University of Nairobi. This is because he knew that the probability of someone who applied for a course that he wants to study through the placement board is three out of 10.

“It’s a fact. I know I’m not the only student who is affected. What we are simply being told is that an A- minus is not enough, which is not supposed to be the case because I worked hard,” Muma said.Daniel Munene also shares the same predicament with Muma. He also scored an A- of 79 points.

Munene chose medicine as his first option, Aerospace Engineering as his second option and Law as the third option.

However he was not called to take up any of his options but was called to study astronomy and astrophysics at the University of Nairobi.

“I have read for four years and my grade is not enough to pursue my own dream course,” he said.

Munene, 18, says the clusters set by the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service board were too high and that they should stop changing the points after every year.

“It’s 45 today, what about tomorrow? What about the day after. When are they going to stop? What do they want us to get? What do they want from us?” Munene poses.

“Yes I got an A- of 79 points and the school rewarded us, but what did we get from the placement board? Is there any difference between someone who got a C+ and I?”

Munene and Muma are among many other students who have been placed in ‘unwanted’ courses by the placement board.

The CEO of the the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service John Muraguri says it increased the entry points for popular courses like medicine, architecture, engineering, computer science and actuarial science after candidates scored high marks in last year’s exams.

About 3,073 candidates scored straight As. Muraguri says close to 80,000 students who sat last year’s KCSE examinations had their applications approved by the board to the various universities and colleges with 149,717 scoring the minimum university entry grade of C+.