SORRY COMRADES, WE’RE ALL HALF-BAKED


Illustration: Joe Ngari

Illustration: Joe Ngari

My old man, Grandpa Richard, has always held the view that our higher education system is shambolic, topsy-turvy and—gets this—cursed with an evil eye.

When he first made these claims, comrades flooded my mailbox and twitter timeline with all forms of contemptuous epithets, crying baloney and saying that his opinions were nothing but sinister lies.

Today, however,  I am proud to say that my old man has finally been vindicated. I told you last week that he’s almost always right, didn’t I?

The Commission for University Education (CUE) has been busy shutting down campuses which it deemed unfit to bake a loaf of bread, let alone fully bake a graduate. The World Bank has also raised concerns, saying my comrades are the reason we might never achieve vision 2030.

On Monday this week, this paper ran a feature that highlighted the squalid living conditions in our universities. The hostels, for instance, are nothing but second-rate hell-holes.

When did the rain start beating us? When did we start producing literature graduates who are reliant on short-form communication and must end every sentence with an asinine LMFAO? (Read: MY COMRADES AND THEIR POOR GRAMMAR MAKE ME FURIOUS) WHY HAVE OUR BRAINS SHRUNK?

Grandpa Richard puts the blame squarely on my comrades, attributing it all to a post-pubescent immunity to discipline. “In the halcyon days, discipline and learning went together like Noah and El-Nino,” the old man reminisces. (Read: BRACE YOURSELVES… EL-NINO IS FINALLY HERE!) “Nowadays, one wonders what is taught at our universities. Anarchy and sass have become the core curriculum, producing feral menaces as its progeny.”

And while I reluctantly agree with my old man that our noggins are all but empty calabashes, a closer scrutiny points to a much wider problem. The government has its priorities all upside down, concentrating on trophies like the standard-gauge railway and laptops for tots while ignoring the core needs of its people.

As such, quality education, just like healthcare, has become a preserve for the bourgeoisie. Proletariats like you and me have to make do with the public rallies that we call classrooms in universities nowadays.

Addressing a packed amphitheatre at a city-based university on Monday, Prof PLO Lumumba noted that our universities are just but glorified high schools. “Every tribe is demanding its own university so its children do not have to travel far for education, forgetting that excellence was always achieved through cross-pollination and cross-fertilisation of knowledge,” said the Director of The Kenya School of Law. “This incest we call education should stop!” he thundered.

The junk that passes for higher-education in Kenya is surely brain-melting, but we can do something to turn the situation around. Until the government wakes up, however, our graduates will continue being woefully obtuse. We will produce engineers who cannot perform long-division, governors who buy wheel-barrows at hundreds of thousands of shillings, teachers whose pay is easily finagled, gynaecologists who rape their patients and nurses deemed too unfit and dangerous to even deal with farm animals.

Read: BEST CAREERS FOR MODERN COLLEGE DROPOUTS)

jowaljones

Jowal Jones is a columnist and correspondent with Kenya's leading newspaper, Daily Nation. He also dabbles in fiction works at times, hoping to be the next Stephen King. Sometimes he takes time out from writing to perfect his deer-dancing and goat-screaming skills.