Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology (JOOUST) is racing against time to complete tuition blocks at its two satellite campuses ahead of planned reopening of universities and colleges in the country early next year.
The construction of lecture halls at the affiliate campuses is meant to decongest the main campus in Bondo Town in line with Ministry of Education guidelines that require all higher learning institutions in the country to have adequate infrastructure that will enable social distancing to minimise spread of Covid-19 among students.
According to the University Council chairman Prof Isaiah Wakindiki, contractors at the two projects are working full time to ensure that the tuition blocks at Achego and Miyandhe campuses on the outskirts of Bondo town are ready for use when students resume early next year.
Speaking during a site visit at Achego campus, Prof Wakindiki said the university has already received Sh650 million from the government to complete the construction of the 500-capacity tuition block.
“We have a lot of support from the government, we are on course to complete the tuition block and by approximation of about eight classes per day, about 4,000 students will be able to use this tuition block each day,” Prof Wakindiki said.
He further revealed that the tuition block which has 21 lecture theatres and an auditorium will also have a health facility for use by both the students and the neighbouring Achego community.
Prof Wakindiki who was flanked by the JOOUST Vice Chancellor Prof Stephen Agong and the University Deputy Vice-Chancellor in charge of Academic affairs Prof Joseph Bosire said that the university is in the process of recruiting additional professors and other staff members in readiness for the increase in admission.
“Every year this university records an increase in number of students’ admission and as a council we have initiated a process of improving our staff establishment by hiring additional professors with the blessing of the government which is ready to pay their salaries,” Prof Wakindiki stated.
Prof Agong clarified that Achego campus will host the School of Engineering and Technology where lectures for courses such as Engineering, Bio-technology spatial planning and Actuarial Science will be given.
Agong stated that JOOUST is focused on producing students who can help the country address the 21st century challenges by being job creators rather than job seekers.
He said that through the completion of both Achego and Miyandhe campuses the community around the two campuses will be able to benefit from improved infrastructural development in their areas.
“With the two campuses ready, it is not only the students who will benefit, the communities around will also benefit through access to power and water supply as well as improved road networks. The university will also provide a ready market for their farm produce besides creating employment for the locals.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor in charge of academic affairs Prof Bosire on his part said the university will start online classes in September as they look to complete the remaining part of the syllabus in this academic year.
He said that once the syllabus is completed the students will sit for online exams and prepare for graduation as the university awaits physical resumption of studies.
“We have made arrangements and ensured that all our students have the necessary infrastructure to undertake online studies come September. We have trained our lecturers on delivery of lectures online and we are ready to go,” said Prof Bosire.
Prof Bosire further revealed that the university has signed a deal with Safaricom to offer their students affordable bundles to enable them undertake online studies.
“We have an arrangement with Safaricom so that our students are sent 10 GB of data each month at a cost of Sh500 to enable them get online content. The university is however working on a plan that will enable every student get bundles at no extra cost after paying their tuition fees,” Bosire said.
By Brian Ondeng’