Identification of right profile and potential students from disadvantaged classes is critical for inclusive university transformation agenda. This paper documents the insights and lessons from the selection of potential students, as part of the implementation of university transformation project for Africa’s growth and development. A four phase selection approach was applied, which included (i) evaluation and admission of applicants to the university, (ii) shortlisting of admitted students based on information derived from application forms, (iii) verification and household validation, and, (iv) final selection. Shortlisting and selection criteria included among others, poverty indicators, family/household characteristics, and leadership experience. In total, 506 applications were received from 22 African countries. The Master of Science programme in Food Security and Community Nutrition attracted the highest number of applications, while the Bachelor of Science programme in Animal Sciences at Egerton received the lowest number of applicants. Out of the 506 applicants, 103 were shortlisted (46 nationals from Uganda, 30 nationals from Kenya and 27 from other African countries) for household validation phase. Overall, parents and guardians were supportive of the applicant willingness to undertake agriculture related degree. Following the household validation process, 30 applicants were selected and approved by the RUFORUM Technical Committee. Of these students, 24 (80%) were nationals from Kenya and Uganda (10 and 14 respectively); and 6 (20%) were Pan-African students from Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania, Rwanda, Zimbabwe and Malawi. Interestingly, 53% of the selected applicants were females, aligning with gender balance. Overall, the recruitment process enabled identification of disadvantaged students across eight African countries. Given the challenges and difficulties, it is suggested that the call for next cohort of students be launched earlier, and the recruitment and selection tools be revised to account for the learnings from the first recruitment cycle.
Date of publication:
RUFORUM Working document series