Challenges facing university education in Kenya

I am a university student in Kenya, and I want to talk about the challenges that we face as students. The quality of education is going down largely because the government doesn’t provide enough money to fund universities and colleges.

I also feel that most of the content that is taught in universities is outdated ,or is not tailored to our career interests. It’s also difficult for students to get internships as well because the economy isn’t doing so well and companies only want people who have experience in their industry.

These are just examples of why higher education in Kenya needs help! Below are some of other challenges facing university education in Kenya.

Absent Lecturers

A majority of lecturers skip classes and do not attend the whole duration of the semester. And when lecturers are present, they only teach a few hours before disappearing again.

This affects our grades and demoralizes us because it is hard to keep up with our work when there is no consistency in teaching quality or subject matter mastery by professors.

This also makes students less likely to attend classes and puts them at a disadvantage in the course they are undertaking.

High University fees

University tuition fees in Kenya have been steadily increasing every year. Unless you are a government sponsored student, you can rake in hundreds of thousands in school fees.

This has led to a decrease in the number of students able to get higher education because they cannot afford it. Additionally, many people are unable to work or study while paying for university or college which affects their grades.

For example, a student undertaking a parallel degree in any of the universities in Kenya will cough out approximately Ksh 100,000 per term. This translates to over Ksh 1 million shillings over the course duration. This is an amount that not many Kenyans can afford.

Absence of student loans

The lack of availability of student loans such as HELB, not only to cover tuition fees but also other living costs such as accommodation and transportation is a major challenge faced by Kenyan university students.

Recently HELB announced that due to former students defaulting on their loans and some not repaying their loans promptly, the amount that will be disbursed this year will be significantly lower. This will affect the number of students that can access this loan in future years.

For this reason, many Kenyan university hopefuls are forced to forego their aspirations because they cannot afford tuition fees or living costs.

High cost of living

It’s tough living on campus if you don’t have money to pay for food or accommodation. Due to inflation, the cost of living has risen tenfold over a span of a few years. This makes it difficult for us Kenyan students and is a major factor in the high drop-out rates of university comrades.

A classic example is where I school in Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology. A one bedroom house in juja, ranges from Ksh 12,000 to Ksh 15,000 per month while a few years back the price for such a unit ranged from Ksh 7,000 to Ksh 10,000. This is an increase of 70%.

Lack of curriculum standardization

Students undertaking the same degree course in two different universities are taught different content, which is a problem considering that they will apply for the same job .

In addition to this ,there is lack of standardized assessment methods for assessing students in different universities, which leads to unequal grading and poor quality graduates who cannot compete with our international counterparts such as those attending USIU or Strathmore University.

My proposal is to standardize the content taught in different universities to give every student an equal opportunity to be able to compete in the job market.

Frequent lecturer strikes

Lecturers often strike to demand better working conditions, more pay and less work load. This means that they have no choice but to look for other part time jobs in order to make ends meet.

This affects students because we are not able to attend classes when the lecturers are on strike. This leads us spending more years in university in order to complete our education.

To solve this problem universities should increase pay, and provide better working conditions for lecturers and stick to their terms of agreement with UASU.

Frequent student unrest

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