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Too many arts, not enough science university students.

Only 16 per cent of university students are pursuing courses that contribute to the Big Four, the Education ministry has said.

President Uhuru Kenyatta's Big Four are universal healthcare, manufacturing, affordable housing and food security. According to ministry statistics, at least 70 per cent of students are pursuing arts-related courses, while the rest are in science and business-related courses.

Higher Education Loans Board CEO Charles Ringera yesterday said the statistics are worrying and could hurt the agenda, as science, technology, engineering and mathematics provide the required skills.

The ministry says there are fewer women than men, 35 against 65 per cent. Further, fewer women than men complete their studies. Their scores are also lower than men's.

The number of women earning university STEM degrees - declines as they move up the educational ladder, a phenomenon referred to as the 'leaky pipeline'. This has been attributed to the masculinity of the disciplines, stereotypes and prejudices.

The government is keen to promote engineering. Of the Sh429 billion allocated to the ministry this financial year, Sh103 billion is for higher education. Ringera said the budget is inadequate for technical courses.

Other statistics show the youth make up 70 per cent of the unemployed and 82 per cent of them are educated. The numbers are higher among art-related courses. Some in sciences are said to lack practical skills, despite having papers.

Uasu boss Constantine Wasonga said some courses are flooded but have limited opportunities in the job market.

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Publication:The Star (Nairobi, Kenya)
Date:Nov 2, 2018
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