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HomeEducationNAVIGATING THE UNIVERSITY JOURNEY IN KENYA.

NAVIGATING THE UNIVERSITY JOURNEY IN KENYA.

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The university student life as many may put it is generally around studying in a campus one applied for and others go to the extent of engaging in other extra-curricular activities such as drama, dance, the CU, sports such as netball, football or hockey. Others even engage in the school politics as they want to be the voice to the other students. Lessons in the university may begin at 7am but most usually begin at 8am and can wind up as late as 6pm with periodical breaks in between. But life is not always smooth in the university. 

Most people always have the notion that life is easy but ‘let me tell you Maina’, things are not as they seem. As they say, “vitu kwa ground ni different!” I have had a conversation with many who recently joined university and it all can be summed up with few words, life is tough! You may wonder why one has the freedom he or she ever wanted but that is not always enough. In the provision of quality education, Universities in Kenya have experienced so many challenges;

Limited resources are one of them. In Kenya, the demand for education is higher than the available resources. Kenyan colleges are struggling to meet this demand. In most colleges, the country’s lack of qualified lecturers to teach various courses affects them significantly. Some lecturers have to teach triple the number of students contracted for. The problem typically applies to public universities where you will get approximately six hundred students in one lecture hall, which lowers the quality of education that these students receive.

Another challenge is online learning. Due to Covid-19, Kenyan colleges have introduced blended learning, where they do both online and physical education to ensure that students finish their studies on time, however, preparedness for online classes varies from institution to institution. Part of the problem comes from the lack of investment in online resources by most of the institutions. Furthermore, most lecturers are not trained in using online learning, which surprises them. The apparent setback is the digital divide. Most families in Kenya do not even have internet in their homes, so students cannot do e-learning. In some cases, students lack the laptops to start with.

Lack of curriculum standardization is another problem. Students taught the same course in two different Universities are taught different content. This challenge causes problems during job applications because these two students will apply for the same job. In addition to this, there is no standardization of assessment which leads to differences in grading and poor quality of graduates.

Lack of quality learning. Learning in colleges in Kenya has turned out to be just passing exams instead of acquiring the required skills at the workplace. Most students read when exams are near, and some even write ‘mwakenyas’ and the whole course is forgotten when exams are done.

Another challenge is frequent striking by the students. The strikes which are planned by the student body of the respective schools usually are for a good cause but lead to more harm than good. We find that in some extreme cases, the police are involved and this leads to disruption of the normal day to day activities and in other cases the school gets shut down until calmness is retrieved. This makes the students lag behind the syllabus and end up losing a lot as the lecturers would not be able to clear the unit or teach effectively.

High food prices are also a challenge to university students. We find that most of the students stay in school hostels and the high prices of food is one reason why most students suffer from malnutrition and engage in the strikes in order to at least get sympathy from the school administration and the government at large to be considerate to them. In most cases, I have heard parents say that their children are drastically losing a lot of weight. But it is not always up to the students, as I said life is tough and most of them consider not eating three meals per day and just end up skipping meal in order to save some cash. In other terms, the students “wanainama!” 

In conclusion, even though life in the university comes with its own challenges, the memories and skills acquired during these years set the stage for a bright and promising future. University life is a journey worth cherishing and embracing wholeheartedly as it shapes students into well-rounded individuals ready to tackle the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.

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