The Joint Admission Board recent selection of candidates qualified to join public universities could be its last because a new body will perform the task in the future.
The new Commission of University Education Act (2012) which replaced the Commission for Higher Education provides for the establishment of the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service Board.
The board will coordinate the placement of government-sponsored students to universities and colleges. On Monday, JAB’s chairman Mabel Imbuga announced a reduced cut-off point for joining public universities for candidates who sat for the KCSE 2012.
A minimum aggregate B of 61 points and above will be admitted to universities, while female candidates with an aggregate B of 60 and a B- of 59 points will be admitted under the gender affirmative action criteria.
A total of 53,010 students will join the 22 public universities and nine constituent colleges this year. “We all know about the new body, but we could not wait for its establishment because students will to report to their institutions in September,” Imbuga said.
JAB secretary Ben Waweru said the Cabinet Secretary for Education has the mandate to establish the new board. “There is need however for a policy and legal framework to guide how the new body will work,” Waweru said.
The policy and regulations will sort out issues to do with whether private universities will benefit from the placement by the new body.
Unlike JAB which comprise all the vicechancellors of public universities, the placement board shall have a chairperson, who is secretary to the Commission of University Education, Helb CEO, CEO Tivet funding board, CEO Tiveta, two vice chancellors from public universities, two vice chancellors from private and two representatives from technical institutions.
The board will uphold equity and balanced access to university and colleges education and develop suitable criteria to promote affirmative action, and other strategies as may be approved by the government.
Courses in universities will also be availed by the board including their costs and areas of study prioritized by the government. “This will include developing career guidance programmes for the benefit of students,” part of the Commission of University Education Act 2012 states.
JAB has in the past faced accusations that majority of students in public universities do not get to do their first-choice degree courses. There have been suggestions to reconstruct JAB to handle admissions at both public and private universities.
However, Imbuga said candidates are now allowed to revise their degree choices after the selection. “The revision dates will be announced in the local media,” Imbuga said.
Imbuga said this year’s cut-off points during revision will use subject performance index of a candidate in addition to the grade to calculate the weighted cluster points.