Address the Pathetic Conditions in our Varsities before fattening your pockets

Wednesday, 14 May 2014


We are not against more students joining public universities. In fact we are more than delighted to see our fellow counter parts making it to the institution of higher learning. In my opinion, there is no better place than being in a university. This is the only place where young people are given a chance to develop and be themselves away from the watchful eyes from parents. They learn how to budget and take care of their monies, clean for themselves and opportune themselves with a chance to make new friends that will either help them build their future careers and professions or ruin their dreams by engaging in drug and substance abuse and illicit affairs.  Moreover, after the removal of National Youth Service Training from the Kenyan Curriculum, Universities were seen to be of equal measure to the services that were once rendered by the National Youth Service, in fact better. To crown it all, universities students are respected worldwide, an attribute that put them ahead in any job recruitment drive. Partly, this is what has pushed the government and policy makers to lower university admission grades over the years to give students equal opportunity in the job market.

However, this increased enrollment over the years have not gone without its fair share of challenges. Its effect were worsen by the introduction of double intake in 2010. Overstretched facilities that have seen lecture halls packed to the capacity with students straining though the windows to get notes may be the most evident and notable effect.  That notwithstanding, majority of students are forced to commute from far off places daily to attend to the lectures as the universities can no-longer afford to accommodate them. In the process students have ended up forming part of statistics of the number of people whose lives have been claimed by either accident or as a result of the raising insecurity in the country. Worst hit are examination days when students are forced to wake up early to book seats in the library or wait for long hours for their fellows to finish reading before occupying the same seats to read for exams. Peanuts received by students from Higher education Loans Board (HELB) is not enough to cater for off-campus accommodation which has become more expensive than tuition fees itself.  Sadly, some students even miss an opportunity to get this loan either because they have not attained the required age to acquire an ID (with is part of the requirement) or because HELB has inadequate funds to incorporate all students into their loan system.
Off-campus accommodation is faced numerous challenges. Insecurity, high bus fares and water shortages are just a few of them. University students are suffering. It is because of these tough conditions that universities have been turned into business hubs where students are engaging in all manner of businesses to survive and forgetting books in return. Same reason why universities are no-longer safe heavens they used to be. Increased theft cases and the power struggles during universities elections some of which deaths have been reported are just evidences of students using orthodox means to survive.
Lecturers have not been spared either. They are grappled with long working hours and heaps of papers to mark. A situation that has seen lectures award grades to students without marking their scripts. A loophole that university girls have taken advantage of to engage with lectures and earn grades they have not worked for.
These deplorable conditions in our campuses and the degenerating learning conditions are what policy makers should address immediately. We expected the newly established Kenya University and Colleges Central Placement Services (KUC-CPS) to tackle the crisis in our varsities first instead deceiving Kenyans and the students that universities are the heavens they used to be by increasing enrollment. If the priority was to see more students gain access to university Education, then they censored a bigger reality on what really transpires behind these huge enrollment. Students are suffering, parents, guardians and lectures are straining. These are facts that if a student can see, then it cannot escape the knowledge of policy makers and the government. This only means that they have decided to ignore the plight of students, parents, guardians and lectures to fatten their wallets.

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