The University of Nairobi (UoN) has the highest number of international students with a population index of 20.9 percent, a new survey has found.
According to CPS Research International March report, UoN is followed closely by United States International University (USIU) at 17.7 percent, Strathmore University at 10.6 percent and Mount Kenya University at 9 percent.
Kenyatta University has a population of 7.6 international students, then Moi with 5.2 percent, Jomo Kenyatta University (JKUAT) at 4.8 percent while Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA) and Egerton have 4.1 percent and 2.1 percent respectively.
“Most of the international students were young adults in the age bracket of 18-24 years at 54.1 percent. The ratio of male to female international students studying in Kenyan universities is 59 percent and 41 percent respectively,” says the report.
The top five public universities with the most international students’ population were UoN, followed by Kenyatta University, Moi University, JKUAT and then Egerton University.
On the other hand, the top five private universities with the most international students population are USIU at 17.7 percent, Strathmore University with 10.6 percent, Mount Kenya University at 9 percent then CUEA with 4.1 percent and then the Management University of Africa with 1.8 percent.
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The survey also established that most of the international students found in Kenyan universities were pursuing undergraduate courses at 75.7 percent with the leading course being Business and Economics at 42.5 percent followed by Engineering 10 percent, medical studies at 8.3 percent, Law at 4.5 percent while the rest of the courses accounted for 34.7 percent.
Most satisfied learners
The survey findings also established that the university with the most satisfied international students is Strathmore University at 65.05 percent, followed by UoN with a satisfaction index of 63 percent.
The third position was taken by Kenyatta University at 62 percent followed by Aga Khan University and Mount Kenya University with 57 percent respectively then USIU with 54.05 percent.
“The best five public universities where the international students were most satisfied with their current institution of study are UoN with 63.05 percent satisfaction, Kenyatta University at 62.05 percent and JKUAT with 51.85 percent,” reads the report.
At least 70 percent of international students in Kenyan universities come from East and Central African countries.
“The leading country is Uganda at 19.9 percent followed by South Sudan at 19.2 percent, Tanzania at 18.8 percent, and Somalia at 18 percent while other countries accounted for 20 percent,” the survey found.
The survey also found that most of the international students were found in public universities compared to private universities.
Public universities accounted for 67 percent of the international students studying in the country while private had a population of 33 per cent.
Asked why they prefer Kenyan universities, at least 40 percent of the international students cited the high quality of education and good reputation and are highly ranked globally.
At least 46 percent of the Kenyan universities expect an increase in international student enrollment in coming years compared to 36 percent who thinks the university intakes may go down in the near future.
With regards to challenges facing international students, the study shows that 42 percent of Kenyan universities had not dedicated any desk or special office to attend to international students affairs compared to 27 percent who had done so.
“The most prevalent challenge faced by international students while studying in Kenyan universities was found to be the difficulties in getting and extending student visas at 40.2 percent,” the survey found.
Other key challenges include high cost of living at 16.6 percent, reduced scholarship offers at 11.7 percent, poor accommodation facilities at 9.5 percent, limited freedom of movement at 5.1 percent while language barrier and lack of support from host university at 5.5 percent and 3.3 percent respectively.