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Careers - Education - Magazine - June 10, 2019

Meru University: An Institution’s Battle To Face Its Darkest Moments

Should education be provided without democracy and space for freethought? A former Meru University student ponders the issue as he explores his alma mater where knowledge and blood flowed.

In the vast and beautiful countryside of Meru County, a university with deep history stands tall battling its dark past while focused on a brighter future.

How it all started in Meru University

Sages and the whole lot of wise men that walked the earth have always foretold great things for their spawn come future generations.
Tucked away in what almost became obscurity, save for former president Kibaki’s intervention at the prompting of Dr. Mwiria that led to a charter for creating Meru University of Science and Technology is a shoot forcing its way through the weeds of clan-ism and political infighting yearning for some light.

After being impressed by their dreams of London and tales of Makerere, the Njuri Ncheke set aside vast tracts of a former swamp for development of an institution of higher learning. A school to rival the amenities of Ivy League schools world over. The dream became land, land became as always is in Kenya, a case for many protracted squabbles.

New institutions that no one wants

Meru University of Science and Technology is an institution among many in the country where the majority of the students are there not out of their own volition but because of a selection algorithm that couldn’t place them in the universities they wanted.

As such, the freshmen are a sad and disappointed lot while the second years have accepted their fate and are actively involved with the social life on campus. Third years are rebellious and are the group beyond the constant strikes and demonstrations.

The fourth years are tired and can’t wait to finish school and never look back. After all, they might be fourth years in their final year of study but it takes much more than four years to complete a degree course in Meru University.

Rebellion that came at a price

In the recent past, many have witnessed the barbarian running and cutting down of school programs, staff, and students in what was later established as premature governance. Corruption and complacency were rife and order of the day, comrades were at the mercy of no one save themselves. Thus came the grand revolt.

Initially characterized by unorganized acts of indiscriminate violence towards all persons present, the revolt simmered and evolved to sustain pressure channeled directly at the powers that be.

This revolt came at a great cost. On 28th February 2018, Evans Njoroge alias Kidero, the then secretary-general of Meru University of Science and Technology Student Association, was gunned down at close range as he fled from the police who were dispersing students protesting fee increment in the school. The case against the police officer who put an end to his life is still ongoing.

While the death of Kidero shocked and angered the students who took to the streets with even greater force, the dissenting voices had effectively been silenced.
The costs were accounted for and were to be accepted, the costs were underestimated and the price was more than the resistance could bear. Still the struggle stood and soon way was made for more sober governance inclusive of the comrade.

Healing in Meru University

As the institution patches and heals from the events of 2018, there’s more to be celebrated and lauded. First being the ever accessible administration, hospitable and keen to keep the comrade comfortable.

Expansion of infrastructure and amenities is on a roll, more of the rolling fields are under useful cultivation, more for the good of the comrade than meandering potbellied men behind the high chair.
Security at the institution of old men’s dreams is to be rivaled, biometric systems and round the clock manned surveillance at entries bring the feeling of tranquility long lost.

Comrades are free, for the first time since the inception of the school, to loiter around the man in power without fear or with malicious intent, school teams rake in trophy and acclaim by the numbers.
Development of talents by association and support for club societies is at an all-time high, with over twenty registered communities.
It’s unheard of for a comrade to succumb to petty illnesses or lack as earlier recorded by the effect of empowered welfare body for the students in many variants all under the student association.

With only a couple of buildings and curriculum additions pending, it’s easy to call the progress made and the projected outcomes of continued contact with the comrades.
Meru University is healing and growing, the old man was right. As the freshmen find their way to Nchiru and settle in the comfort of higher education the elders carry them in prayer and deed.

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