While the increased demand for University education witnessed in recent years has been greeted with enthusiasm from various stakeholders in Kenya, the provision of adequate and affordable housing has been a major area of concern preoccupying university managers. This challenge has pushed the various education actors to source for new approaches to address the problem.
One such approach that Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) has been fronting is the public /private imitative that encourage private developers to be proactive in the construction of agreed housing facilities suitable for students’ accommodation, a system that has worked well since a sizable number of students are now accommodated in private hostels, at the University neighborhood.
The public/ private sector initiative received considerable boost when a group of French Development Agency, (FDA), a French public institution that provide development financing, visited JKUAT , Tuesday, December 10, 201 3, in a fact finding mission aimed at the possibility for the agency to fund the construction of hostels at the University.
The team that was lead to the University by Mr. Joseph Musyoki, a Commission for University Education official was received by Prof. Victoria Ngumi, JKUAT Acting Deputy Vice Chancellor for Administration, Planning and Development, who on behalf of the Vice Chancellor, welcomed the guests telling them JKUAT was keen to collaborate with the French agency in the development of hostels at the University. Prof. Ngumi informed the officials, ‘the popularity of JKUAT academic programmes has attracted numerous students who have surpassed available hostels at the University a circumstance that has conditioned the University to seek alternative accommodation to a considerable number of students in private hostels within the University vicinity’.
Diane JEGAM, FDA Nairobi Office, Programme Officer for Kenya and Burundi said her agency was closely working with Kenya’s Ministry of Education, Science and Technology together with the National Housing Corporation for possible collaboration that would make it possible for her agency to finance the construction of hostels at the University.
Diane who was with Isadora Bigourdan, Paris based Investment Officer in charge of Financial Institutions and Private Sector Support , said her agency had been active in Kenya, since 1994 where it had financed the development of major infrastructural projects, mainly in the oil industry. Ms Bigourdan expressed her willingness to mobilize the required resources using her international network from her Paris station, to fund the construction of hostels.
Prof. Ngumi who was accompanied by Prof. David Mulati, Principal, College of Pure and Applied Sciences, and Dean of Students, Emma Omulokoli took the French officials in a tour of hostels in the university.