Being A Student In Kenya: 2016 vs 2017 in Kenya – What Has Changed?

The year 2017 has brought with it some peculiar changes to the education system in Kenya. Whether these changes are positive or not remains to be seen, as they have received a mixed response so far.
In 2017, the Mantiang’i reforms will see fewer students being admitted into university due to more stringent measures to curb examination malpractices and meet stricter admission requirements. However, students who successfully fulfil the criteria will have greater access to student loans, and when they embark on their program of study, the standard of education is much better. Here are just a few of the changes that have occurred in Kenya this year:

Curriculum Reforms
The current government has begun the pilot for the new 2-6-3-3 system to replace the 8-4-4 system in line with the Vision 2030. The 8-4-4 system which has been in use since 1985, has been criticised for its inadequacies. The new 2-6-3-3 education system features 2 years of pre-primary education, 6 years of primary school education, 3 years of secondary school education and 3 years of university education. There is a strong emphasis on imparting students with the relevant transferable skills to embark on a successful career. This also means a reduced number of years in the academic system for students.

University Admission Requirements
In 2017, the university admission cut off points have been moved. This means the number of students being admitted would be less and all qualified students would have a place in the university.

Also, the degrees of people who have graduated could be revoked by the Commission for University Education of the country as instructed by the Cabinet Secretary, if they did not qualify for admission. Therefore, graduates who had not achieved a three-year diploma certificate and achieved grades below a C+ would no longer hold a valid degree.

A review of all degree programmes at all universities of the country is being conducted as well, and courses which fall short of the necessary requirements would be cancelled. All the government agencies in charge of the university accreditation and admission have also been rendered defunct except The Kenya National Examinations Council and the Commission for University

More Access to Student Loans
Students who demonstrate academic excellence but require funding can now access education. Following on from a statement made by the Deputy President of the Republic of Kenya, William Ruto, at the graduation ceremony of the Mount Kenya University in Thika, that the allocation to the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) would be increased from Sh7.5 billion to Sh15 billion annually. This means that students who did not have any sponsorship would now be able to access additional funds.

Kenyan East African e-Passport
The Kenyan government has announced on its immigration portal its plan to commence the issuance of the Kenyan East African e-Passport from 1st September 2017. This passport will afford students the opportunities of easy access to and from the member states of the eastern region of Africa including Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi and South Sudan, increasing access to education and improving the chances of young people.

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