What you need to know:
- Research indicates that only around 23 per cent of students secure accommodation in campuses.
- The vast majority have to rent premises outside university grounds.
As enrolment figures rise, most Kenyan universities and colleges have found it difficult to meet the demand for on-campus student accommodation.
Research indicates that only around 23 per cent of students secure accommodation in campuses. The vast majority have to rent premises outside university grounds. Some of the private hostels have poor security, are congested and have inadequate sanitation.
According to Earthman and Schneider (2002), the environment influences the wellbeing of the students. Good lighting, security and accessibility are among factors that improve learning.
Other disadvantages of off-campus accommodation is sharing a room with naughty students and with minimal privacy. Having a roommate who parties hard and indulges in immoral activities can affect one’s studying. It’s such exposure that leads to peer pressure.
Also unlike on-campus accommodation where security is guaranteed, residing in rentals means one has to walk long distances in insecure paths to meetings, library or to discussion groups at night. And without security screening, strangers have easy access to these rentals sometimes to harm students.
Stabbed to death
On September 29, a student at Laikipia University was stabbed by her roommate’s boyfriend. Getrude Chepkoech was alone in her room at a hostel outside the university when the man stabbed her, according to Nyahururu Sub-county Police commander, Mary Kiema.
Another similar incident involved a second year student of Mount Kenya University, who was stabbed to death by her alleged lover on June 15 in her room. And on March 31, another student at the university is believed to have killed her colleague and then committed suicide. And on October 1, a Kenyatta University student was found dead at a private hostel in the city.
Unfortunately, despite these problems, authorities are not doing enough to improve the state of hostels in public and private universities.
Colleges should work together with investors in private hostels to build more units. They should also identify areas where students can be accommodated that are not far from campus and ensure proper security and sanitation. The school management/boards should also collaborate with locals and other agencies to ensure security of students who reside off-campus.
Jackson Ngari, 20, is a Communication and Journalism student at Rongo University
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