Saturday, May 02, 2009

Kenyan Public Universities: Something got to be done!

Recently when I was in Eldoret, I took time to go and pay a courtesy call to my former campus of Chepkoilel which I had left 10 years before vowing never to ever return to it again. This time I wanted to probably relive the beautiful moments and also thank it for the trouble that strengthened me and made me a better man. I hoped I would see some of the lecture theaters and also attend the famous evening prayers if only for memories sake. The front of the office block where Margret Kamar, then principal of the campus sat is pretty much the same but equity bank has a branch just next to her office and beyond I noticed that the passages have been built and students are only allowed to use the paved walkways. The lawn where we used to bask is out of bounds. Just before i could turn and go back, I noticed the old campus photographer who was called Msafiri. He remembered me quite well. He should have since he took pictures of me for four years! He was rather unchanged and even this time he had clients to whom he introduced me proudly and told them I had been there 10 years before.They proceeded to the front lobby where Msafiri took their picture as he had done to thousands who had passed here. Surprisingly the cost had remained largely the same at 30 bob but msafiri told me these days he uses the digital cameras so there were no negatives. I bid my goodbyes and turned to go but just then my cousin who had cleared here a year before called and told me it would not be right to leave before I bade good bye to his fiance who was a fourth year student of education. The lady came and took me to her room insisting that since I was the first major in-law (lol) she had met, I had to take tea. So I got my chance to visit golden 'box' one more time.

Block F which used to be the senior girls hostel used to be a very posh hostel compared to the rest. This time it surprised me. It looked more like an emerging slum. The room meant to house 2 girls is now housing 4 and they are cooking in their rooms. Each with her own electric stove! I also learnt as i sat there that they were also selling eggs in the room. Customers kept on coming one after another. I wondered loud how they were able to read with all that disturbance and now that the room was so crowded. But they told me reading was only possible in the library or lecture halls. I remembered that I was never a library person. I never liked the absolute seriousness that was always in the library. Chepkoilel was meant to be a teachers college for about 1000 students. Well now the campus of Moi University is housing close to 7000 according to my hostesses. No wonder they had to squeeze 4 girls in a room meant for two. Am told some rooms for the first years and second years house 6 roomates. Meaning that accommodation at Moi Girls high School in Eldoret is better than at campus! Whats more, getting a seat in the lecture halls is a dream and you have to take the lecture on your feat. standing for over 2 hours!

And the other day, I went to visit my brother at chiromo campus! A sorrier state. first the regular students take up the rooms then sublet them to in service students who often come during holidays. They then share one small cubicle of about 5 x 6, the 4 of them. Secondly most of the students are married. or something like that. meaning they stay together girl and boy. Now since they have rented out their rooms, 2 couples are sharing one cubicle. 1 couple on the 2 X 6 bed and the other couple on the floor. to make matters worse, they are all cooking in the rooms! When I went there, I found most girls seem pregnant.

What I wonder is, are we as Kenyans losing the meaning of everything? Yes I appreciate the need to have more people go through university. But should it be for its own sake. The simple truth which does not require a commission of inquiry is that the colleges are overcrowded. We either stop further admission or we build more lecture halls, hostels and even play grounds. secondly, the loan given to the students is simply not enough and thats why they endanger their lives cooking in the rooms, waste time going to market to buy veges, renting out rooms etc. About the coupling and pregnancies, i will leave that to sociologists to advice but something really needs to be done!


  1. Its all about the economy, leadership.
    But I can agree, something to be done. They can increase accommodation or close the slum.

  2. Croc,
    Wewe wacha kucheka kwa matanga. Kwani did you drop in GATE A/B ama you boarded Ziwa-bounds for 10 bob?

    That said, Chep (its rightful name) is like an acamedic KAMITI. Blame it on MO1 with his populist policies starting with 8-4-4 (=0?). Lakini we need a serious thinking about our education policy. Ages are gone when they used to be brain paradise.

  3. You just painted a very ugly picture of Chepkoilel campus. I visited it when I was a student at Moi Girls and thought it looked wonderful!

  4. Was in Moi Main campus sometime back but didnt know things have gotten that bad.

  5. @MainaT, spot on

    @Eunuch , of course I went through gate A! lol

    @Prousette, you must have been a young sweet 16. at the age the world looks very different! But again chep used to be quite beautiful

    @annon, things are worse in most campuses in the country. blame it on over crowding (or poor management)

  6. Croc,
    Did you say beautiful? Well, you have no clue. FYI between BLOCKS and G was a FOREST (we called it EVIL FOREST) when Chep opened its doors on 8/10/90 (see what a toddler you are?). Then I recal the strikes and the 5 bob fare.

    BTW Chep was like the 5th name. It was first called Sergoit/Ziwa etc and all came with strikes. So Chep iko na wenyewe na sio akina Kibor.

  7. @Eunuch, wa wa wa! nimeona kweli. I wonder why the forest was called evil forest.

  8. anonymous,thats too bad of have brought out chep as a very rotten campus but this is not the is not to that extent and the blame isnt on student but moi mgt failures


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