Society / Education
Saturday, 14 Jan 2017 12:47 EATrosemukonyo@yahoo.com
Barely a week after Kangundo MP Katatha Maweu led a high-powered delegation to South Eastern Kenya University (SEKU) in Kitui Town for the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) under which the university will set up a campus in Kangundo, an influential Kangundo politician has poured cold water on the idea, questioning its feasibility.
Ms Rose Ndinda Wambua, who is widely touted as Mr Maweu’s fiercest political opponent, and who has declared she will run against the MP in the general election scheduled for August this year, has termed the initiative ‘a brilliant idea’ which has been miscarried by the incumbent. Ms Wambua said Kangundo had more pressing needs in the education sector which need urgent interventions as opposed to setting up a university campus.
Speaking to the Kenya Free Press after meetings with women and youth groups across the constituency, she said: “As we speak now, our primary and secondary schools are in dire need of better infrastructure and sufficient staffing. It would have made more sense if the MP focused on aspects which influence performance like teacher motivation and provision of the required infrastructure,” said the aspirant, who before plunging into politics was a senior manager with the Cooperative Bank of Kenya.
She went on: “The whole project appears to me as purely political considering its timing. SEKU unsuccessfully attempted to establish a campus in the neighboring Tala Town (the commercial capital of Matungulu constituency) and therefore there is little if any indication that the project will succeed in Kangundo at this particular period,” she noted.
Ms Wambua said it was regrettable that dozens of needy students from humble backgrounds were increasingly losing out in opportunities to pursue higher learning due to lack of fees. “In my thinking, we should have in place a well-resourced scholarship programme for our students to ensure total transition to higher learning,” she said.
She also questioned the MP’s failure to involve the constituency’s key players in the education sector including the office of the district education officer among others. “If a serious university intends to open a branch here, they will not seek the consent of the area MP alone unless its agenda is different. We would have seen the involvement of various stakeholders including several homegrown academics serving at different reputable universities,” she added.
During the signing of what has now become a widely criticized MoU at SEKU Main Campus in Kitui, the MP said the initiative would put the constituency on the right path towards uplifting education standards in the region. The MoU, signed between SEKU and Kangundo community envisages the establishment of a campus on a 10-acre piece of land within Kangundo High School which has been donated in kind by the school’s sponsor, the Africa Inland Church AIC.
Rose is a contributing writer for the Kenya Free Press, based in Machakos County.