The Oshwal Community is building a Sh3 billion University in Thika, marking yet another milestone for the group’s investments in education facilities.
The community has acquired 50 acres of land in Thika for construction of the Oshwal University complex.
“Plans are under way to begin construction. Simultaneously, we shall set up a campus in Nairobi’s central business district,” said Jayashree Prathap, the acting Principal for Oshwal College.
Oshwal community is a 100-year old charity organisation formed by migrants from India’s Rajasthan State and their descendants.
The members of the Oshwal community also share the same religion.
The Visa Oshwal community owns and operates Oshwal Center, Oshwal schools and colleges, Oshwal library and Oshwal sports complex. The Oshwal University will exist alongside the Oshwal College located in Parklands, Nairobi.
Mrs Prathap said the varsity will be funded through own cash reserves as well as input by donor agencies and financial institutions. The community is seeking loans from within and outside the country to finance the project.
“The development will begin once the Letter of Interim Authority is granted,” she said.
The Thika campus will have the main administration block, library, laboratories, tuition blocks, offices, common rooms, lecture theatres and auditorium.
The Oshwal College currently offers diploma and professional courses and business-related degree courses in collaboration with University of Greenwich and University of London.
The college enrols 1,000 students annually. It is also one of two colleges in the country offering Certified Financial Accounting-CFA.
“The prospect for Oshwal community and Oshwal Education & Relief Board (OERB) is to create and build an institution that will exploit its current strengths and position itself firmly as a community that not only runs efficient and leading businesses but also that can help in nation building through the creation of The Oshwal University.”
The University hopes to start admitting students in 2016. It will initially offer three undergraduate degree programmes in education, commerce and technology.
Post-graduate and diploma programmes in law, ICT, entrepreneurship, fashion design and interior design and others will be launched in subsequent phases.
The university will also support young entrepreneurs and SMEs in agriculture, manufacturing and services through dedicated training and leadership development.
The number of private universities has risen sharply in the past five years, opening up opportunities for more Kenyans to gain higher education.
The 2014 Kenya economic survey puts the number of chartered private universities at 17. In 2013, 11 universities were issued with letters of interim authority.