A judge has locked out students enrolled in the international curriculum like the British IGCSE from joining local universities on State sponsorship.
High court judge Thripsisa Cherere ruled that the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Services (KUCCPS) — the public universities admissions agency—could not be compelled to sponsor students outside the 8-4-4 system to government-backed campuses.
Justice Cherere said there was nothing discriminatory with the 2014 Placement Policy.
In recent years, Kenyan parents have been increasingly embracing the international curriculum to give their children a better chance at upward mobility and set them up for admissions to top universities abroad. Increased demand for this type of education has seen an increase in the number of schools offering American and British curricula.
In the court case, Mr Rakesh D. Madavia had accused KUCCPS of discrimination after his son was denied State sponsorship because he had studied under the British curriculum, which is known as International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE).
He said KUCCPS had declined to place his son under the government sponsorship on the ground that his son did not undertake the 8-4-4 system of education. He said the policy was in violation of the Constitution in so far as it excludes IGCSE students.
Students under State sponsorship pay annual fees of about Sh30,000 and are eligible to apply for upkeep cash from the Higher Education Loans Board (Helb). Mr Madavia argued that the KUCCPS policy was not only discriminatory but a violation of Article 27 of the Constitution, which guarantees equality and freedom from discrimination.
He wanted the court to constitute a committee that would come up with an inclusive policy that takes into consideration the placement of students undertaking both 8-4-4 and IGCSE as government-sponsored students to colleges and universities.
In response, KUCCPS through chief executive John Muraguri maintained that a student that has studied under the government-regulated education system and writes examinations administered by the Kenya National Examinations Council qualifies for State sponsorship. KUCCPS argued that Mr Madavia’s son had the right to education of his choice and was at liberty to apply for admission to any course at the universities and colleges based on the admission requirements. Justice Cherere said the concept of unfair discrimination does not envisage a society that affords each human being equal treatment in all circumstances. “My humble view is that, in the circumstances of this case, the degree of difference in treatment is from what is stated herein above, is justified since it does not have the effect of withholding or limiting the petitioner’s access to education,” the judge said. She said that the right to education is not absolute, but is subject to the rules and regulations governing studies or education in a given institution. She dismissed the case saying the court will not be an advise-giver concerning what ought to have been included or excluded from the placement policy.
“I find that although the petitioner’s son is a Kenyan citizen, the policy is justified and reasonable in light of its legitimate aim. Moreover, the first respondent has the moral obligation to uphold the guidelines concerning the placement of students to universities and colleges,” she said.