Is it wise to offer more university charters?
20 February 2013, 13:56
Over the last one month, President Mwai Kibaki has created more than three Public Universities out of the numerous University Colleges.
More are yet to come, or so I presume.
We must however remember the effects in the short run and in the long run.
Save for Kibaki’s administration, they might not be called to answer to the many would-be challenges since he will be peacefully embracing his retirement package in Othaya.
The newly created Commission for Higher Education, whose mandate will solely be to oversee overall affairs of such public institutions will inevitably inherit these current ambitions alongside the underlying hurdles and challenges they are likely to face.
Lest we forget, our ever ambitious budget has time and again been overwhelmed with education programs in our country.
Currently, Public Primary and Secondary Schools are operating with ‘wafer-size’ bank accounts and might be forced to close any day!
The story has been the same with the now Odinga University, Eldoret University etc and even the would-be public universities namely Kabianga University College, among others unless human resources are marshaled and the infrastructure is heavily funded as soon as last year!
Kabianga University College for instance, joins the list of the recently established University Colleges and Campuses with a view of creating more learning opportunities.
Currently, the University College has over 3 000 students.
Initially, everybody considered it an exceptional move by the government; a timely solution to the ever increasing demand for higher education in our country and perhaps, a landmark credential in our esteemed education system.
With time, though, the cracks have gradually graduated into fissures in what now appears to have been a hurriedly arranged ‘marriage’.
It is evident that the Government had done a great deal of nothing as far as infrastructure expansion and improvement is concerned.
Worse, the story is the same in almost all the other College Universities.
Consequently, thousands of students are forced to endure an unbearable learning environment in such institutions.
In Kabianga for instance, the restaurants are in a total mess, the main library is almost an archive rich with a scanty number of learning materials and, everyday experience is a traumatizing story for every student.
Moreover, six students are forced to share a single room, the water runs hardly up to 8 AM due to the overwhelming number of students, the roads are not tarmacked (meaning when it rains, one has to wear Gumboots), pavements are ironically absent, an automatic generator is as well absent, the main computer laboratory has close to ten desk top computers ... the list is endless!
Under staffing, poor infrastructure, lack of learning materials characterizes most University Colleges.
True, it is a brilliant idea to expand the capacity of Higher Learning Institutions ... the problem is how realistic is it?
The Kenyan Government ought to have invested massively in infrastructure and human resources before embarking on its over-ambitious dream!
I honestly call upon the government to think seriously about improving things in these higher learning institutions.
It is in effect an awesome idea, yes, very timely indeed, yet doomed to stumble and fumble alike unless something tangible is done at the soonest opportunity possible!
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