Sunday, October 18, 2009

College Admissions Must be Watertight

Posted Sunday, October 18 2009 at 19:01 at

Admission to secondary schools and tertiary colleges attract attention because of scarcity of places. For every one available vacancy, there are at least three qualifiers, making the exercise quite competitive.

Due to the stiff competition, temptations is high for applicants to seek shortcuts, including bribing or using family, ethnic or political connections.

Universities have fairly watertight procedures that largely guarantee that only the best candidates get the few available places. At the secondary level, a computer system introduced about five years ago has streamlined selection. But influences still determine those joining Form One in the best schools.

But an area that is quite porous is the tertiary level, where admission procedures have not been tightened, especially teacher training and medical colleges. Last week, we reported about investigations being carried out over suspicious admissions to teacher training colleges. Although the colleges completed admissions a month ago, students continue to bombard institutions with all sorts of letters purportedly issued by the Ministry of Education.

Allowing unqualified candidates to join the colleges is fraught with risks. Among others, it dilutes the quality of training and undermines the profession. Moreover, it raises fundamental issues about governance and integrity. The ministry has been rather guarded over the matter, but speaking broadly, there is reason to expeditiously investigate the claims.

What is even more critical is to establish an effective system for selection. The current devolved system that involves local education officials, though promoting equity, is prone to manipulation and abuse. Even if it is to be retained given that devolution is the way of the future, it must be fine-tuned with safeguards to eliminate corrupt dealings.

Perhaps we may need to think about setting up a national agency to coordinate admission to all tertiary institutions to ensure quality and standards.


  1. Thanks for this great post - I will be sure to check out your blog more often

  2. Most career college admissions are very meticulous when recruiting new students.

  3. its all because of the high competition , which is caused by more applicants for college.