Friday, 8 March 2013

Growth of University Colleges Should be Controlled

The higher education sub-sector has witnessed exponential growth in the recent past despite the industrial unrests which have now become a norm. As countries like Gambia have only two universities, Kenya boasts of ten public universities and several private universities with the University of Eldoret, Narok and Kimathi Universities receiving their charters last week. Consequently, the number of students joining universities has increased over the recent years. This is a positive step given that the country is aiming to achieve a middle income status by the year 2030.

However, the university colleges are growing at an alarming rate. Some have argued that the rapid growth should be taken positively given that it is increasing access to higher education. Other pundits, on the other hand have argued that, the growth is due to power struggle in the university management where everybody wants to be a Principal, Finance Officer or the Vice Chancellor when the constituent college becomes fully fledged university. Others have attributed the mushrooming of the university colleges to politics where politicians want to have institutions of higher learning in their counties.

One of the adverse effects is that they take over middle level colleges which offer diploma and certificate programs. This has left a vacuum which has created a crisis whereby students who do not attain minimum grade for university entry lack a place to further their education. At this time, we only have two national polytechnics, that is, Eldoret and Kisumu Polytechnics which have resisted attempts to be taken-over by the universities. The constituent colleges also duplicate degree programs and as a result, we have excess supply of some professionals in the job market. Moreover, universities offer similar programs. 
Kenyans have shown significant interest in education but caution should be taken so that we do not end up with 47 or more universities not to mention the private universities which are also growing fast. It is therefore necessary to regulate the university colleges. The number of students taken to pursue different degree programs should be regulated to avoid surplus professionals and they should also diversify the degree programs.

Entrepreneurial Spirit in Moi University Community

Entrepreneurship has been a major topic of discussion in the country in the wake of diminishing employment opportunities. The government has spearheaded several initiatives in a bid to promote entrepreneurship including setting up of Youth & Women Enterprise Funds-which provide loans at much lower rates than the commercial banks. With these kinds of boosts, the entrepreneurship spirit has continued to grow with many people now venturing into business. However, Moi University community seems to have been left out in this quest for wealth creation and self-employment.

Establishment of a university in a given locality usually brings with it lots of opportunities which could boost economic prospects of that particular area owing to the large population. Moi University was established in 1984 and 28 years down the line the entrepreneurship spirit in the area leaves much to be desired. Be as it may, the local community has not taken full advantage of the potential business opportunities available that could rake in thousands of shillings if not millions. Some of the sectors that the community ought to have ventured into include:

Real Estate: This is currently one of the most profitable ventures in the country. The perpetual problem of room shortage has always been experienced in the university every academic year. This presents an opportunity for the local community who can build hostels for the students who miss university accommodation. What if we had a building similar to Hostel H put up at Talai Shopping center or Cheboiywo?

Transport: This perhaps is the highest performing sector in Moi University community save for cartels and tribalism that has dogged the sector thereby limiting its full potential. However, much needs to be done since there are still opportunities in the sector.

Entertainment: No offence, but entertainment in this place is just whack. Currently, we only have two main entertainment joints which have small space that cannot even hold 20 people at any given time. Comrades have been forced to buy drinks and enjoy them outside the bar in usually the chilling cold of this part of Kenya. What if we had our ‘Signature’ or ‘Spree’?

Hotel/Catering: No hard feelings but the quality of food here is way below average and perhaps it could be the reason most comrades prefer to cook for themselves. Hotel ventures can be very profitable especially if quality and quantity of food is addressed. In addition to that, the hotels lack food diversity thereby limiting choice of food. As it stands now, there are three ‘hotels’ while the rest are ‘vibandas’. The ‘hotels’ and ‘Vibandas’ alike charge exorbitant food prices which is not commensurate with food quality/quantity with Ugali-Mboga going for Ksh.50 as opposed to market price of Ksh.30. 

Information, Communication & Technology: The profitability of this sector has significantly reduced owing to the proliferation of internet enabled phones and the free wireless internet provided by the university. However, there are still other people who do not have access to computers or smart phones. Currently, there only two cybers with a capacity of 10 people against an estimated population of 12000 students. As a result, comrades have been forced to queue for cyber services.

There are myriad challenges in entrepreneurship. Nonetheless, the local community can still tap the opportunities lying in the sectors discussed above. The development in this area, 28 years down the line could be astounding. However, it’s never too late especially with the fact that the university will never close its doors owing to the accelerated program.