While as newly established varsities such as Kimathi University College are godsend to students willing to pursue further education, housing the students is many a university’s problem, writes MARION NDUNG’U
Michael Oduor (not his real name) a fourth year student at Kimathi University College is frustrated with his landlord. He pays Sh4,000 for a small room he shares with a friend that has barely enough room for a reading table.
“The owner says that they will provide hot water for bathing in the morning but rarely does it,” said Oduor.
Oduor cannot afford a better place but he is not happy. He cannot wait to finish his degree programme and leave the premises. He says that he does not expect to live an exorbitant life— as a student— but says he should at least get value for his money. The room has barely enough space for the two roommates to go about their business without brushing shoulders.
As institutions of higher learning continue to increase, the number of students admitted in these sprouting institutions need accommodation, a lot, of which universities cannot provide. While a few years ago most colleges could easily admit all their students, these days, it is not uncommon to see hostels in towns and within living estates.
Gone are the days that entry to a university was dictated by the availability of bed space. With the upsurge of universities in the country, the demand for living spaces has become a challenge to many students.
Kimathi University College is one of the newest institutions of higher learning and faces students’ accommodation challenge.
The principal of the college in Nyeri Prof Ndirangu Kioni says that the universities are now prioritising on the provision of learning facilities other than the provision of accommodation facilities. The task of providing accommodation, he says, the university has left to private developers.
In another hostel, a resident laments that they suffer ridiculous power rationing. He claims that lights are switched off at six in the morning and back on at six in the evening. This is despite paying Sh2,000 per person in a room of four. He says that in the cold season when it is cloudy, it is difficult to study due to low visibility.
Undoubtedly, there are a number of well-constructed hostels in the area. However, the majority of the hostels appear to have been hurriedly done by unscrupulous business people keen to cash in the business opportunity with little regard to their conditions.