My Village Secondary School

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Karatina University(Photo: Courtesy)

Someone had the guts to equate my university to a village secondary school. Wait, he actually labelled it a village secondary school. Apparently, he posted it on a public forum asking other comrades what they thought, raising dust on a rainy day. I think if Facebook had the section of most popular hashtags like twitter, then #KaratinaUnithevillagesecskul would have earned the crown. This guy had similar thinking, or rather similar minded comrades backing him up. They all aggrieved, totally concurring that the university was like a toddler learning to use the toilet properly. That sucks, right?


Village secondary schools are known for rampant cases of early pregnancies, colossal illicit brew consumption, perpetual lateness to school, consistent inattendance of classes, bullying, pupils beating up their teachers and the lot. Oh, what of poor performance? They are ever tailing in KCSE. They produce crooks, whose main profession is to terrorize people in the village, ransack other people’s houses and rob them, and being the drunkard lechers of the village whose life purpose has a watermark of liquor on it.


That was not my topic today. It stirred my brain and sent me thinking; can we really avert negative thinking? Like are we that narrow minded? Problems cannot be solved by attacking them but rather cause more problems.


Well, the truth is universities are going to be there. Some are suffering the crackdown of Matiang’is whip. Again each of these is going to fall into either of the three classes: first, second or third. First class universities possess a name that in itself the name can get you anywhere instantly. They have both infrastructure and refined product. On top of this there is a humongous name that toggles from the top of the list of varsities. The name has an adjective before it. These varsities have hundreds of courses with huge population of students, who can swarm into a city and cover the sun. They have long histories dating back to times of our grannies who when they talk about education, will tell you that ‘back then’ university was university and that there were only two or three in the region.


Second class varsities are upcoming. They have mammoth structures, towering like Babel’s skyscrapers. They may not have the level of education that one needs to fly a plane but they have structures that can give a photographer reasons to stay awake even when others are deep asleep, because he simply doesn’t want to miss the sight of a comrade peeing through the window at night. Their story begins with infrastructure.


Third class comrades are loco. They thrive. They survive. Even the name of their varsities does not augur well with the villagers back at home. Villagers will be always asking each time you meet- where did you say you school? Or how is Nairobi University taking you? And you answer starkly saying you schooling at Karatina University. They ask- Karatina? And then switch the topic because they can’t stand that name. It is like the name corrodes their throats.


Third class varsities have poor infrastructure, small comp labs, few or no books for particular faculties in their tiny libraries, lectures who get to class any time they feel like and who can fix classes anyhowly because they had gone to fence their acre of land in Kamulu on the day they were supposed to attend class, hideous communication channels and poor delivery of services.


Everything in these institutions is limited and poorly managed.  The few personnel entrusted with running the affairs here are below the bar, always referring you to the Dean or ‘kuja kesho’, a kesho that never comes. I have had bad days with these people who can’t look you straight on the face and give you what you need.


Come to think of it, third class varsities admit pupils who score between B+ and B. This is because they have no prestigious courses such as engineering, med and law to admit A students.  Most of these students are jerks. They passed by chance. Chances that they are going to be serious in their studies are significantly low. But somehow they have big minds.


What happens is that most of them are “kijijish” or chanukad. This translates to two things-Party animals and spoilt brats. Party animals are lovers of booze, sex maniacs, braggadocios, goons and never miss strikes. They started all the promiscuity back in high school; chewing miraa and smoking bhang in the dormitories. Spoilt brats are innocent looking students from the villages who are experiencing university culture shocks. Everything they meet in campus is totally new and opposing their very beliefs. The coalescent magnet strongly pulls them to fit in and be cool.


In the second semester after they receive HELB Loan, they pop out their brains to buying impulsively to impress. Transformation occurs to them so fast that it turns them to spoilt brats. You see they will want to try everything. From fashion, partying to liquor. And many of them get influenced to go to sleep overs, drink one for the fun, wear a mini pantiless to the party, and so on.


But that is life. It is a stage we have to pass through. Later on we will graduate and go to work for guys who got Ds in their KCSE. A&B guys will work for C&D guys. The latter have big minds. They conceive ideas only that they don’t know how to go around them. What do they do? They employ the A&B guys to crack the code for them. They earn the credit and you get your salary.


This bigwigs never attended any school after form four. Some never went beyond class 8, but My! They run the city. They are the old kids in the block who for some reason have declared the immediate streets their empires.


Good thing about life is that it unifies us. It makes us uniform. The sulking bit is that we all meet at the same playground when it comes to job hunting. With the kind of life third class comrades go through, they are bound to have an upper hand in being successful entrepreneurs than first and second class students. Why?


These comrades are few. Therefore they get good delivery from their lecturers. Secondly, they live in hard conditions. This hardens them. For them to survive they moot ideas that bring them money. And most of these are business ideas. So what happens? You will graduate the same year. While you will tarmac looking for employment, they opt for self-employment. Most likely you might end up being employed by them.


I am awaiting to sit for special exams on August because I paid my fees late. The senate, the university senate, decided that 900 students are going to sit for special exams, I included, the reason why many of us think we might be studying in some village public primary school.


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About Mzangila

Mentor, media consultant, photographer, editor, poet, writer, and counselor.

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