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Kenya tops African peers in students intake at Yale

Kenya has cemented its position as the top African country with the largest number of students admitted yearly to the prestigious Yale University in the United States.

Data from the university indicates that 24 Kenyan students have been accepted to study at the institution this year, ahead of Nigeria’s 23, Zimbabwe (18), Ghana (17) and South Africa (16).

Last year Kenya held the top position in the continent with 23 admissions.

The university, where Kenyan-born Oscar Awards winner Lupita  Nyong’o  graduated with a Master’s degree in acting, offers courses in nursing, law, medicine, arts, music, management, environment and architecture.

“Kenyans continue to hold the largest share of admissions to Yale from Africa, which shows the premium the country puts on quality education,” Yale director for Africa Eddie Mandhry said on the sidelines of the Africa CEOs forum in Geneva, Switzerland.

Central Bank of Kenya Governor Patrick Njoroge is yet another key alumnus of the university, having earned his PhD in Economics from the institution, according to Mr Mandhry.

Kenyans are increasingly placing priority on education with most sending their children to top colleges as a passport to a better future.

Quality concerns

This comes amid concerns over the quality of university education in Kenya faced with a shortage of lecturers and facilities as well as cash for research.

Both public and private universities had 443,783 students last year compared to about 62,000 in 2002, a rise that has not been matched with facilities and lecturers. This has in part contributed to graduates who do not match the needs of the job market.

Degrees from top-notch universities like Yale are seen as a ticket to securing top jobs in the global market.

This year, Kenya’s admissions to Yale comprise 17 undergraduate students and seven graduates. This saw the country emerge 16th in the world and first in Africa in the admissions.

Students from Tanzania managed seven slots at the university, the same number as Ethiopia, Rwanda had five while Uganda had only one.

Globally, China led the pack with 680 admissions, followed by Canada (223), India (189), South Korea (148) and 121 for the UK.

Mr Mandhry said that Yale is considering partnering with Strathmore Business School in Nairobi in business and management courses.

“Strathmore is quite phenomenal in business courses,” he said.

‘‘The university provides scholarships and financial aid to needy but bright students who demonstrate exceptional academic and leadership qualities.

“We extend our admission policy to international students so the college will be accessible to all candidates from any part of the world who show great academic and personal promise, regardless of their financial situation,” the university says on its website.

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