That former President Daniel Toroitich arap Moi was an educationist at heart is not in doubt. He spent the early years of his career working as a teacher, after all.
So strong was his love for education that he built many schools, colleges and universities across the country and was largely responsible for the decentralisation of higher education from the capital.
One of his pet education projects was the Moi University campus in Eldoret.
The Kesses-based institution, located some 35 km from Eldoret town on the highway to Nairobi, enjoyed huge financial support from the Kanu leadership after it was established in 1984.
Moi University was part of the President’s dream to have higher education institutions moved away from urban areas.
“This new institution should be established in a part of the country far from the capital,” reads the Mackay report that set the groundwork for its establishment. Moi University would enrol some 8,000 students within its first two years.
Currently, the institution has a population of 39,786, which has come with debilitating infrastructural challenges. Scholars at the institution yesterday lauded Mzee Moi for introducing policies that strengthened the education sector.
“The university has produced reputable and distinguished scholars in Africa and the world at large who have contributed immensely towards providing solutions to the problems that are bedevilling the society,” said Prof Isaac Kosgey during a press briefing at the institution yesterday.
He said Mzee Moi has been the pillar of the institution in terms of expansion of its learning facilities and general infrastructure. But now, the university is faced with a myriad challenges that threaten to derail its efforts to provide quality higher education.
As part of its restructuring process, the institution plans to abolish some degree programmes, merge departments and close down two of its satellite campuses in Kitale and Odera Akang’o.
This will save the institution approximately Sh222 million annually, according to a report approved by a Senate committee meeting on Tuesday.
The chairman of the committee, acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Finance) Prof Daniel Tarus, said the university should load common courses online to reduce the pressure on physical facilities, among other recommendations.
A spot check by the media revealed that a majority of the infrastructural projects had stalled.
A source at the institution told the media in confidence that most of the buildings, from the main administration block to the lecture halls, were built by Mzee Moi.
“Since the era of President Moi, the institution has not come up with serious facelifts or new projects. All these buildings you see around, including the Margaret Thatcher block, the main administration block and all lecture halls were built during Moi’s time,” he said.