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Kenyan Machakos University in serious accommodation challenge

Machakos University College is grappling with an accommodation problem for more than 2,000 students admitted to the institution. Principal Francis Mathooko said MUC has a student population of about 9,000, but it can accommodate only 500 on campus. The huge deficit means more than 8,000 students have to seek accommodation elsewhere.

Mathooko urged the local business community to take up the challenge and construct as many rental houses as possible around the university to accommodate some of these students. “I am aware that some of our students have rented houses as far away as Kyumbi Market. This is some kilometres away from the institution,” he said.

He said the university is expanding rapidly, hence the need to expand facilities. Mathooko said the facility has been allocated 100 hectares where the proposed Machakos City will be built. He spoke during a matriculation ceremony for the first year students who have been admitted this year.

Mathooko urged them to beware of radicalisation which targets students in institutions of higher learning. “Religious fanatics are targeting bright students to recruit into their schemes,” he said. “In the recent past, students have been converted into criminals through radicalisation. Please, do not join such groups.”

Mathooko warned the new students against falling prey to drug peddling cartels. He urged the students to adhere to a policy that requires them to know the occupants of ten rooms within their neighbourhood. Mathooko said this forms part of students’ safety. The college also has a rapid response number, which students can use in case of danger.

He said the university gives a reasonable guarantee of student safety, but students have a role to play in ensuring the environment is safe for learning. The university college is set to be awarded a full charter later in the year. It is a constituent college of Kenyatta University.

In recent years, universities have been experiencing increasing shortage of accommodation due to increased intake. Some students opt to rent houses in nearby towns and market centres. This puts them at risk of being used by criminals. This has become a common problem in almost every public university.

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