Those who did not go beyond primary school in Kenya to be degree holders
11 months ago, 7 Dec 09:33
Every year, a significant percentage of pupils who sit the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) don’t proceed with education, partly due to low grades. Last year, of the 942,021 candidates who sat the 2016 KCPE examination, 300,000 scored 249 marks and below. This means they failed to meet the average Form One admission mark: 250. Of these, 221,438 scored between 101 and 200 marks. A total of 6,747 candidates scored 100 marks and below. According to Kenya National Qualifications Agency (KNQA) chairman Prof Bonaventure Kerre, most learners who fail to join secondary school join the jua kali sector. “Most of these young people don’t choose to go into jua kali; they find themselves there by default,” says Prof Kerre. The jua kali sector, the largest employer in Kenya, employs up to 80 per cent of the youth, most of them primary school dropouts. “It is when they want to advance their studies and get degrees that they encounter roadblocks,” says Prof Kerre. Last week, KNQA held a consultative forum to discuss a draft qualifications framework set to be rolled out in learning institutions in January next year. The framework proposes pathways that a Kenyan citizen who fails to attend secondary education can use to qualify for a certain level of certification, including a university degree. The forum, attended by hundreds of representatives of universities and middle-level colleges, discussed the fate of people who had necessary industrial skills but lacked written qualifications to prove their competencies. Should they go back to secondary school and get a C+ before they proceed for degree programmes? Should they shy away from applying for roles in which they were competent unless they have secondary school certification? Are they to always live in fear that someday their employer might ask them to produce certificates which they don’t have? “Of course not. School dropouts have multiple ways to redeem themselves. With the pathways, we insist someone can go up to university without stepping into a secondary school,” says Prof Kerre. The pathways are contained in the draft KNQF passed by education stakeholders in May. According to the framework provides three distinct pathways for learners who fail to join secondary school. Learners will be enrolled into some form of training that will see them sit the first examination called Government Trade Tests (GTT). After the first training level, the learners will sit the first trade test called GTT I. This certificate is an equivalent of a National Vocational Certificate (NVC), which will also be the first qualification for Form Four leavers who fail to secure university admission or those who wish to pursue technical education. The learner will then sit a second trade test (GTT II), which will be an equivalent of National Vocational Certificate certificate/artisan. The third and last trade test (GTT III) for Standard Eight leavers will elevate them to the level of craftsman. This gives hope to people like Simon, who has not sat any of the tests and has been in the industry ...
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