SA lures Kenya students with promise of quality education, affordable cost
Increasing competition for the few well-paying jobs in the labour market has made it ever more imperative for many Kenyan parents to look for only the best education for their children.
And for those who can afford it, a good education in Kenya has become synonymous with foreign education, with the UK, the United States, India and South Africa as the favourite destinations.
The decision as to whether a child should go to school in South Africa or the USA depends on many factors but cost, quality and living conditions in general remain key.
Mark Okuttah talked to Shiru Githiomi, a Kenyan manager of a matriculation school that prepares Kenyan students for university education in South Africa, about the system of education, life in and out of campus and how it compares with college education elsewhere.
What is matriculation and why is it necessary for Kenyan students to go through it before joining South African universities?
Matriculation is the final year of high school in the South African education system. For some odd reason, South African Universities have never accepted Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education exam results as adequate qualification for tertiary admission.
Who goes to the matriculation school? Is it for students who have not done so well in particular subjects or just about anyone who wants to join a South African university?
Anyone who has completed KCSE or ‘O’ Level and wants to join a South African University is eligible to apply for the matriculation year. KCSE or ‘O’ level graduates from the Kenyan and the British systems are required to attend matriculation for one year.
It is the matriculation results that determine whether or not the respective candidate qualify for tertiary education in South Africa.
How does the calendar for matriculation courses look like?
It is a one year course. Candidates join school at the end of January / February and write their final paper around November. Results are released in December and the university academic year begins in February of the following year. Thus, a student who wrote KCSE/ O Level in 2011 will write their matriculation in November 2012 and will be eligible to join a South African University in 2013.
What does it cost to take the matriculation courses because many parents would want to compare that with the option of sending their child to the US for instance where they go straight into the universities?
The Matriculation year will cost you about Sh1.2 million all inclusive of fees, accommodation, food and pocket money. Depending on which university one chooses to attend, the universities cost about the same and in some instances even less. Now compared to the USA, one may be skipping the matriculation year but the cost of a good education would be out of reach for many Kenyans.