Students who took their Kenya Certificate of Secondary Examination (KCSE) exams in 2022 are expected to apply for various undergraduate courses provided by Kenyan universities.
According to the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS), students who scored C+ or higher will choose courses based on cluster points.
Cluster points are calculated by comparing a KCSE examination student’s performance in four subjects required for admission to a given degree program to that of the best candidates in that KCSE examination year.
KUCCPS has listed 560 undergraduate degree programs, divided into 20 categories.
One outlet spoke to Apollo Osango a Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC) examiner on what determines the listing of clusters.
“In the past, the cluster groups were based on available job opportunities but currently they are determined by the number of slots available in universities against the number of students applying,” he revealed.
According to the KUCCPS portal, the Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) is at Cluster 1 and the most applied course.
“Law is a most sought-after course in Kenya and since most universities offering Law can accommodate a high number of students, it becomes the most applied course,” Osango explained.
After Law, most students apply for Business, Hospitality and related courses according to the KUCCPS portal.
Currently, there are 64 different undergraduate programs under the category indicating why it is very popular amongst students.
In Cluster 3, KUCCPS lists Social Sciences, Media Studies, Fine Arts, Film, Animations, Graphics and related courses.
Osango explained to media that the category is popular for two reasons; First, the cluster points required are generally low making many students apply for them and secondly, like in Law, the slots are usually many in institutions offering those courses.
In Cluster 4, KUCCPS lists Geosciences and related courses which consist of sixteen undergraduate programs.
Engineering, Engineering Technology and related courses are ranked in Cluster 5.
“Ideally, you would expect more students to apply for engineering courses compared to geosciences but that is not the case.
“Fewer institutions offer those courses and the slots per class are also fewer because the course demands more in terms of infrastructure,” Osango explains.
In Cluster 6, KUCCPS lists Architecture, Building Construction and related courses.
KUCCPS in an earlier statement announced medicine and health-related courses were in demand but on the website, it is in Cluster 13.
“What KUCCPS meant in terms of demand is that very few slots are available for students to apply.
“For example, a university can accommodate over 300 students taking LL.B. because all is needed is space and lecturers but for medicine, you need science labs which are expensive leading to lower class size,” he explains.
On what makes a course popular during the application process, he explains, “KUCCPS automatically locks you out from selecting certain courses if you do not meet the required points making you go for a second alternative”
“If a student wants to apply for Medicine but is locked out because of cluster points, chances are he will go for Law pushing it up higher in popularity scale,” he adds.
The other clusters in order of popularity are: Computing and Information Technology; Agribusiness; Actuarial Science, Accountancy, Mathematics, Economics and Statistics; Interior and Fashion Design; Sports Science; History and Archaeology; Agriculture; Geography; French and German; Music; Education and Religious Studies.