Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, (JKUAT) is one of the higher learning institutions in Kenya. At the university, different activities take place; some which have led to the changes observed. These changes have been noted in the administration, accommodation and infrastructure among other aspects of the JKUAT community. These changes have had both positive and negative effects to the university.
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Five years ago, the main entrance to the university was not welcoming at all. Security was poor, contributed by the fact that there was no lighting around that region. The main gate comprised of pieces of wooden blocks nailed to each other, just to provide entrance. With the introduction of a new administration system, so many changes and developments have occurred. For instance, the main entrance was fully furnished and the stretch from the gate connecting other units of the campus was renovated.
The gate was painted and the woods replaced by metallic structures. Security at the gate was also reinforced and lighting provided. Flowers and grass were planted on the bare grounds around the campus and the place now looks green and conducive for study. With the good impact this change brought, a higher number of students was noted.
With the increased number of students admitted, there was need to increase bed space to provide more accommodation. A hostel block was constructed but after its completion, it was converted to a tuition block.
The reason behind this was that during the construction, it was realized that the building was not strong enough to accommodate a large number of people. This change had both positive and negative impacts since the tuition block could provide more learning rooms, whereas the initial problem of bed space had not been taken care of.
The campus offers mainly engineering, architectural and other technical courses. With the male chauvinism that existed before, the males therefore, had a higher admission rate as compared to females. With creation of awareness and education of the girl child, more of them began being admitted to JKUAT.
Initially, as one was walking along a street around the campus, they would come across one or two female students or even none at times. Times have changed and the female students have increased tremendously. One can come across more than ten of them in a street. This change was reinforced by the fact that a female vice chancellor replaced the former male one.
The accommodation sector at the campus has been through so many changes. Initially, accommodation was offered by following the “first come first served” principle. As per now, the rule does not apply for the freshmen. They are allocated rooms before their admission date. Continuing students are then supposed to apply the stated principle. For government sponsored students, they are required to pay half the accommodation fee.
In the case that a government sponsored student missed a place at the hostels, they would still pay the half fee and be given a room outside, nearby to the campus. Beginning a year ago, government sponsored students were no longer paid for accommodation outside the hostel.
Instead they were given the half fee from the government in cash form and they were to look for accommodation on their own. Accommodation offered outside is paid in monthly, whereas the cash from the government is given once for the whole semester. This change had a negative effect since students had to look for other sources of money to pay for their rent.
Initially, student ownership of electronics was minimal. This was due to the fear of theft and insecurity. With the new admission in place, security measures around the university was installed and reinforced where it existed. This confidence enabled students to bring electronics like laptops and music systems to campus.
The quiet weekends were no longer so, as loud music played from halls of residence. Being young people, the change was positive since it enabled relaxation and unwinding by the students after a week of reading.
Recreational facilities at the universities have changed too. Three years ago, there was no swimming pool for the hot afternoons. Students would go swimming in nearby campuses. A year ago, there was a swimming pool launch to officially open the recreational facility to the student body.
From then students have been noted flocking the place especially in the afternoon, following the fact that the university is situated in a relatively hot region. Inter-campus sports have been noted to take place too at to the large field in JKUAT. The introduction of fashion shows and other musical events have also been introduced. These changes have had a positive impact by uniting the student body.
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Generally, JKUAT has grown for the better. The various changes that have occurred over a period of time have had more positive effects as compared to the negative. This was mainly enabled by the new admission system that was put forth after a long period of dormancy by the previous administration.
A large student admission has been noted both locally and internationally since JKUAT is ISO certified. Graduates from this campus are highly competitive and is a motivating factor to the continuing students.