Sustainable articulation pathways and linkages between upper secondary and higher education in Africa
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The recent and rising increase in enrollment at th e primary school level since the introduction of th e FPE in 2003 has led to a corresponding and signif icant rise in enrollment rates at the secondary school level. This has translated into an increased demand for higher education in the country. The demand for higher education is driven by the realiz ation that this level of education forms the princi pal pillar of development. The current development agen da in Kenya is inspired by the realization that there are many available options and avenues via w hich the goals of industrialization and socioeconomic development can be achieved. Higher e ducation will play the strategic role in the process. It is therefore necessary to explore and u nderstand the nature of linkages which exist betwe en upper-secondary and higher education levels in term s of access, equity, relevance, financing, curriculum, quality and articulation to the job mar ket. This study has examined the evolving trends and what they portend for the development of higher education and life long learning in Kenya. It has critically analysed the articulation routes, delved into the quality aspect, the sustainability of the various initiatives, and identified the lessons lea rnt for possible best practices. Although the local focus of higher education is university education, there are four national polytechnics and several middle-level colleges which also absorb the seconda ry school graduates in Kenya. The demand for university education has led to the opening up of public universities for the Self Sponsored Programmes (SSP) and an increase in private univers ities. Horizontal and vertical articulation between the curricula and its assessment been discussed. T he study previews the sustainability of the articulation pathways in the face of the expected s urge in demand for higher education in the short an d long term in Kenya. The study concludes that the re cent initiatives to reform the upper secondary curriculum, to open up university access via the SS P route, to reconfigure student financing, to provi de for the establishment of private universities and f or admission of more female students have had positive impacts, and are sustainable. The limited horizontal articulation within the higher education sector and the tendency to take over ongoing middle -level institutions in order to provide for access need to be evaluated. It is also proposed to assess the impact of the long waiting period between upper primary and higher education and how it affec ts articulation and subsequent student performance in the university.