University student numbers on a decline; task force report

The university student numbers has been on a declining trajectory for the past four years, the task force report says.

The varsity population has dropped by 28,216 students in the last four years. 

This is more attributed to the tough examination regulation adopted in 2016 to curb cheating.

The university student numbers details are contained in the report of the task force on enhancing access, relevance, transition, equity, and quality for effective curriculum reforms implementation.

The report under the new curriculum aims to resolve transition concerns from primary to secondary school and from secondary to university.

According to the task force study, the total population of universities was 537,689 in 2016, but the number has been declining since then.

The population fell to 522,059 students in 2017-2018, 519,462 students in 2018-2019, and 509,473 students in 2019-2020.

University student numbers on gender representation

More boys than girls are enrolled at both public and private universities.

Between 2016 and 2020, girls made up 41% of the university population on average.

In public colleges, gender gaps are more evident than in private universities.

During this time, women made up 47% of private universities and 41% of public universities.

Although the report does not go into detail about the causes for the fall, it is possible that the KCSE reforms implemented in 2016 were the catalyst for the shift.

The modifications resulted in a significant decrease in the number of students who qualified for university admission. The repercussions had an impact on the overall number of people admitted to universities.

The module II program, which saw students who qualified for university but did not receive government sponsorship pursue self-sponsorship, was also affected hard by the reforms.


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For private universities, this was the primary source of funding.

Since the reforms, all those who meet the requirements for university admission have been enrolled in government-sponsored institutions.

For the sake of fairness, the government reached an agreement with private universities to place state-sponsored students there.

The government has sent 86,000 state-sponsored students to private universities, according to the report.

Also read,

Prof Stephen Kiama: Freezing state funding to public universities will not be strategic

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