, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 29 – Kirinyaga County prides itself as a giant of education in the country with consistent high performance more so at the secondary and primary levels.
It maybe a 360 degree excellence in education, with the rising status of Kirinyaga University, whose story is that of grass to grace.
Within a few years, the university has experienced massive infrastructural development carried out by the government consequently leading to high rate of enrolment.
The University Deputy Vice Chancellor Prof Charles Omwandho took the Capital FM News crew through the institution’s journey of excellence.
“We got our charter on October 7, 2016. We are just one year old. A lot of expansion started here in 2013 and by 2015, the student population was just about 1,300 and today we got close to 3,000 students. We are going to break that on September,” he said.
He attributed the increase in numbers to consistent growth in academic programmes.
“We have started a School of Health Sciences where at the moment we are training Bachelor of Science in Clinical Medicine, BSc in Community Health and Development, Bsc in Forensic Science -an area that Kenya needs so much- and we are also going to start training in Bsc Nursing programmes, we have been cleared the Nursing Council of Kenya,” he pointed out.
For training health care providers, the institution has a well equipped biomedical science laboratory that caters for basic sciences and clinical laboratories.
“In our biomedical science laboratory we got some of the state of the art facilities including DNA extraction and analysis facilities,” the Deputy Vice Chancellor stated.
The laboratory was constructed last year among other sets of projects that have changed the face of the establishment from a technical institution to a fully fledged university.
The government spent Sh42 million to equip the biomedical science laboratories and engineering workshop.
Some Sh32 million has been set to buy more engineering equipment according to Prof Omwandho.
The school also has constructed a 400-seater library and to compliment that, it has 18 Wi-Fi hotspots, where students can freely do their research.
– Ready For Free Secondary Education –
The Jubilee Government and the Opposition have promised to roll out free secondary education and Kirinyaga University is ready to absorb the expected high numbers of students across the country.
“Kirinyaga must take its rightful position together with other Universities to enrol these students,” he said.
Ahead of that, the university is constructing a multi-million tuition complex and a lecture theatre complex, expected to be concluded with 1 year.
– Vision 2030 projects –
They have developed a project proposal of a Sh18 billion university teaching referral hospital in the county.
If constructed, he says it will relieve referral cases in hospitals in the country, train healthcare professionals and provide biomedical and clinical research, as well as consultancies services.
“Kenya is a regional centre in all these health matters and we really have to model the Kenyatta (Kenyatta National Hospital) of the modern times,” he said.
Security being crucial, the institution has invested in a multi-million shilling CCTV project covering the entire premises.
The CCTV cameras are strategically positioned and manned for 24 hours at the school’s Command and Control Centre.
The security guards are also highly trained on how to deal with any threat of insecurity.
As a result of the university being expanded, the surrounding community standards of living have greatly improved.
Some have invested in apartments in order to cater for the rising numbers of students.
One of them is Harrison Mwangi, who now owns 42 single rooms, 15 double rooms and eight shops.
“They are all occupied. In fact, plans to expand are underway so that we can accommodate more students,” he said during an interview with Capital FM News.
For the single rooms, a student has to part with Sh2,500 per month while double rooms go for Sh3,500.
“The university is a blessing to us…it has also provided employment for our youths who were addicts of illicit brews,” he asserted.
The university stands on 220 acres of land.