Reasons Students Fail to Graduate in Kenyan Universities

Reasons Students Fail to Graduate in Kenyan Universities

Amid the ongoing controversy over fake degrees dogging the political class, many university students in Kenya fail to graduate due to numerous challenges.

While some of these challenges are blamed on students, others are attributed to school administrations and lecturers.

Here are 5 major reasons why students fail to graduate from institutions of higher learning;

Missing marks

Finding missing marks in Kenyan universities has been described as an 'extreme sport'. In recent years, missing marks become a common phenomenon across Kenyan universities. In some instances, it has been described as a menace that has hindered many comrades from graduating.

This has majorly been blamed on the lectures who fail to submit students' results on time and the high number of students enrolled for a particular course.

Additionally, the failure to submit students' scores has been occasioned by the failure of school managements to pay the lecturers on time as some are forced to withhold students' results so as to get paid. 

Exam Failure

Just like missing marks, many students fail to graduate from campus because of their poor performance in some units. Despite universities having different grading systems, students have to meet certain marks to pass their courses.

Failure to meet the minimum threshold forces students to take up supplementary exams while others are forced to redo the unit entirely at a cost.

Further, consequent failing of units and projects cause students to stay longer in school which may affect their dream to pursue further studies.

Prof Maurice Amutabi opines that many students handling research projects were taking more time in school because of their project supervisors. He stated that Kenyan universities were channeling out few graduates because of the strained relationship between lectures and students.

"Students are taking too long in the system, more than is necessary, for reasons caused by supervisors. I have come across really mean and selfish supervisors, who turn against their own students for being questioned or asked for assistance.

"Supervisor menace is a reality in universities in Africa and students must be protected from this violence if African universities hope to meet their academic objectives in graduate training," he stated.

Deferring studies/ Discontinuation

On some occasions, students fail to graduate because they defer their courses for personal reasons such as illness, pregnancy, or career demands.

At times, students take more time than the intended break applied for and find challenges settling back to school because they have to start afresh with a new group of students.

On the other hand, universities may also terminate the academic journey of some students because of their dismal performance in class. For some courses such as medicine and engineering, poor results lead to automatic discontinuation of the students.

The students are then left with the choice of picking another institution to pursue the course or picking another course altogether. Nonetheless, students are advised to pick courses that match their talent and academic capabilities.

Fee Arrears 

With the current economic burden facing Kenyans, paying fees can at times prove to be an uphill task for many parents and students, especially self-sponsored students. This is because they pay more than their government-sponsored counterparts.

While some institutions allow students to sit exams with outstanding balances, one is always required to clear their fee before graduating and picking their certificates. 


Student strikes also play a major part in students' failure to graduate. On most occasions, students in universities famed for school constant incidents of unrest take more time in school as they stay at home after strikes depending on the damages.

Further, students are forced to meet certain requirements such as clearing fee balances and damage fees and these guidelines hurt students who have huge fee areas.

Students also found culpable for such disruptions face disciplinary action from school management ranging from suspension to expulsion.

Other notable reasons include drug abuse which has seen a number of students lose focus on their studies and venture into other things other than their academics. 


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