The closure of Kisii University’s Kapenguria campus has dashed the dreams of hundreds of students after they relocated to Keringet, 7km from the popular Makutano town centre.
It has also been 8 years since the Commission for University Education (CUE) started demanding that the government implement a directive to integrate technology into its programs.
Launched in 2014, the campus was originally located in a commercial estate in Makutano.
He later replaced the 72-acre site with a state-of-the-art Agricultural Training Center for Farmers, the brainchild of District Governor Simon Kachapi when he was District Governor.
It is not yet clear what caused this, but the drop in numbers is blamed on the significant distance from the city and logistical constraints for many students.
To complicate matters, it is the Covid-19 pandemic that has seen many universities adopt new pedagogies due to ICT infrastructure and adaptation challenges.
As virtual learning supersedes physical learning, students have been looking for alternatives due to the financial implications and limitations of this factor, including looking for services from other universities far from home.
This turn of events created a strong reaction in the host community, which considered it a serious challenge to the results achieved.
According to the Principal of Kisii University Dr. Agreed Okutu, the drastic policy change has halted the operation of several universities across the country on campuses deemed unstable.
“Our numbers have decreased. We have only 200 students out of 2200. Government policies have worked against us,” he said.
He said high operating costs were some of the factors pushing the wall.
“Students like this have become a permanent source of revenue for many institutions and have generated revenue for universities,” he said.
Member of the Masol County Assembly (MCA) Wilson Chekeruk, a community development student at the university, said the presence of the university boosts the image of the community, which until now had negative connotations related to cattle herding, FGM and others. backward cultural practices.
West Pokot County Kenya National Union of Teachers [KNUT] Secretary, Martin Sembelo said residents in the area are hungry for education and want services close to home.
“We only have one university, but it is closed. We only have one professor, former Governor John Lonyangapuo,” he said.
He said the institution is needed to save parents from the pain of expenses when they take their children away for education.
“Students from here and from other distant districts in this district are forced to spend a lot of money before getting an education. “It’s expensive for them to travel,” he said.
He hopes universities will come and set up bases in the area because people are now willing to learn.
“We shouldn’t force our students to join universities they don’t like. “These students don’t want to join universities because of the distance,” he said.
He urged the district government to establish universities in the region if the national government did not heed his call.
An interview with an opinion leader in Opera revealed his anger at his desire to see his campus transformed into a university university and eventually a full university.
Former MCA Ilyas Kashusu said the closure of the university also led to unemployment.
“Ninety percent of workers from West Pokot are now unemployed,” he said.
West Pokot Governor Simon Kachapin said he will revitalize the campus.
“It’s not being managed and politics is ruining everything,” he said.
The mayor also said that he wants the campus to be fully leased and called Kapenguria University of Science and Technology.
“The university has attracted students from Amudat, Mount Elgon, Trans-Nzoya, Elgeyo-Marakwet and Turkana district in Uganda. The nearest university to Moi is 100km away, the university in Lodwar is 350,” he said. .
Kapenguria MP Samuel Moroto called on the president to intervene.
“We embrace peace and take education seriously. This area is a closed area and Keringet area is a gate,” he said.
Resident Christopher Changorok said it was a big loss for those who live around the university because there are several jobs and business opportunities.
Among them is Asha Chemasuet, who worked as a university cook and is currently unemployed.