The centuries-old debate among philosophers on whether education should primarily address its utilitarian objectives may have found expression in the rejection of nine-degree courses when it turned out they had attracted no applicant among last year’s Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exam candidates.
According to the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service, placement results for 2019/20, none of the 90,000 students who qualified — scored C+ (plus) and above — to join university appeared interested in pursuing the programmes.
In a decision likely linked to their appeal in the market place, the nine degree programmes, including Bachelor of Theology, Social Work and Community Development, Technology in Mechanical Ventilation and Air Conditioning, Arts in Peace and Conflict studies and Business Administration did not attract any applicants.
The others are Bachelor of Science (Aquatic Resources Conservation and Development, with Information Technology), Bachelor of Science (Natural Products) and Bachelor of Science (Environmental and Resource Management).
At the same time, no student was selected to join 98 other courses because they either did not qualify or were placed to one of their other choices.
The revelations came as Education Cabinet secretary Prof George Magoha, while releasing the 2018-2019 universities placement results, promised to streamline university education and bring it back on the desired reform trajectory, saying there is a need for the Commission for University Education (CUE) to
“This situation must be addressed. The Commission for University Education must conduct a thorough analysis of these courses, including a review and scrapping of such programmes,” said Prof Magoha yesterday at the Catholic University.
The CS argued universities should subject the degree programmes that they offer to greater scrutiny to avoid courses duplication.
The government, Magoha said, will carry out a rationalisation of academic programmes and universities, adding that where possible, existing universities and campuses can be consolidated for maximum utilisation.
Among the 98 programmes with nil placements included Bachelor of Arts in Development Studies, Applied Linguistics, Translation and Interpretation, Gender and Development.
In the category are Bachelor of Science in Geography Information Science, Bachelor of Arts in Childcare and Protection, Catering and Hotel Management, Biblical Studies, Church Educational Ministries, Pastoral Theology, Youth Ministry, Human Nutrition and Dietetics, among others.
A total of 660,204 candidates sat for KCSE last year out of which, 89,486 have secured placement to degree courses of their choice in public and private universities under the government sponsorship.
Towards reforming universities, the CS said freeze on establishment of new universities and satellite campuses must be upheld and that similar academic programmes be consolidated to efficiently utilise and maximise on existing resources.