TO BECOME A DEKUT COMRADE…
I am looking at the fee structure for the Dekut 2020 admissions… I think I should not… Because there will be no combination of English words that will sufficiently bring out what I will feel…
Comrades, how are they, online classes?
I know you are still silently saying you hate them… Maybe you are slowly boycotting them…But alone…You know what we call that tactic? It is called the kicks of a dying comrade student…You will finally have to subscribe to it… Because that is what it takes to be in a world class university…Stone me not, because here, is the lemon taste of being a comrade in Dekut.
When schools were going on strikes late last year, I was proud to tell every villager that would hear how proud I am to be a Dekut student. The school whose students graduate in a blink of an eye. That doesn’t have lectures suspended in the name of a lecturers’ strike.
Remember when you never used to wear make up or even an underwear? When you would pee on the road from school? What did you want to become when you grow up?
Dreams. We all had dreams. We dreamt of being accountants, business icons, engineers, nurses, name it. And we thought that the gate-pass to the fulfillment of our dreams was one; education. Everyone talked about it. Our parents and peers could only tell us how important education is. We heeded to their call. We anticipated living through this education that cut across all themes. That could uplift you from the poorest slums to the richest neighborhood. Then one day, after struggles with a corrupted system, we somehow found ourselves under its shed, thanks to countrymen like former president Mwai Kibaki who somewhat made education free and compulsory for all Kenyans.
When we got it, the education we had all longed for, we were happy and contented. We started smiling, illuminating the unseen spirits bequeathed in our hopes. We started seeing ourselves wearing that helmet we had always admired, the coat we had envisioned ourselves in, behind the IT systems of high-profile companies, the life we had dreamt of. We all started having a new kind of hope, that with education, we will master our fears, we will change the history of our families, we will adjust the sails of our ship, maybe even change its entire course, we will conquer the earth.
We would chase it until the lamp oil runs out. Until bags sagged on our eyes. Until we got to its heart. Until we see ourselves through it, its fruits. Most importantly, we had peace because we knew the only thing that would make us all equal, whether from Buruburu or Kinangop, Samburu, or Taita, with a car or not, smokers and nerds, we would all sit on the same table and get served from the same meal. How much we wanted this education. Because in the core of our hearts, we knew with profound clarity that finally, some good vibe had dawned on us. But unbeknown to us, some gigantic loopholes lay ahead. Slaying. Waiting to explode on us. To ambush on our goals.
We dearly loved education, until we could not all attain it.
When Coronavirus suddenly broke out, schools, like other public institutions, closed down. We packed our luggage and hugged our friends’ goodbye. For some, it was a happy moment, after all, education is not like eating apples while basking to some summer sun. For others, they just waved to their friends, feigning sadness as the custom dictates. We boarded the 2NK matatus, walked home, drove home, either way, we were finally at home. With hope at the bay of our hearts that somewhat someday, Coronavirus will go and we will resume with our education.
Your quarantine would have somehow been a kind of vacation from the blues until you joined the Dedan Kimathi University of Technology. Read of Technology in bold because what awaits you as a Dekut Student is an intense encounter with real, tough, and expensive technology.
As soon as Dekut realized May had set in, and Coronavirus was in no way going to let schools reopen soon, it was determined to start the semester as it had scheduled. After considerations by the senior minds whose theoretical seniority is pegged as the Senate, Dekut introduced a virtual system of progressing with learning. Comrades in the villages where roads are impassable, the thickets too bare, the chores and home responsibilities too demanding, had to forcefully navigate through online classes despite extremely poor mobile services.
Being comrades, they decided to plead with the school’s management, categorically explaining that apart from home-based environmental inconveniences, it was hard for them to pay greedy mobile-data providers for them to access online classes. With dekut’s deaf ears absently listening, comrades settled to helplessly throwing tantrums in their divided whatsup groups and a distant student council. Surprisingly, students attended the classes they had explained all factors were against their availability for the classes. Only a few students kept asking for justice, cursing the school. But in silent talks, in hidden quietness.
And so, the school smilingly clapped to its victory. It was going to join the league of world-class universities where students could comfortably study from home and not even a global pandemic could stop virtual learning.
Comrades, not ready to lose, used all legal ways they thought they had to advocate for equality. After all, the school did not care whether or not you have a smartphone or a pressure lamp. The small noises would have been loud should the students boycotted the classes. But could they?
The school, fueled with ego and seemingly lust for fame, held another senate meeting to tighten their stand. It promised to procure data bundles for all its students to facilitate online classes.
Through a memo dated 3rd June 2020, the office of the Registrar directed students to register for online classes from the students’ portal, where they would provide their cell phone credentials to have 10Gb loaded for them. Some, afraid of being deregistered, and others, flowing with the wave of the storm, purchased data, logged in to their portals, and registered for the classes. It was not an easy task. The system kept failing, when coupled with a poor connection, you could only resolve to curse the system.
The classes continued even before data bundles had been purchased as earlier promised. After all, nothing stops at Dekut. Even if not everyone is on the move. You have to find a way of chasing the storm, whether you have wings, vestigial extensions, or feeble limbs.
After a moment of waiting in loud silence, only a few students who apparently had paid some portion of their school fees were fortunate enough to have data bundles loaded for them. The rest of the comrades who depend on HELB, bursaries, parental casual labor, name them, and even those that are financially straining due to Coronavirus were forsaken to suit themselves with the online classes. Cuffed, strangled, and confined by the school’s grip, the god-forsaken students threw their hands, cursing the matrix that matched their fate to their school. Contrary to what the school motto says, bettering lives, this time the school, was worsening the lives of many students through technology.
Just when students thought it was over, disturbing figures, forcefully pinned on a sheet of paper, and then colorfully labeled as the 2020 Fee Structure, pierced through the wound comrades are yet to heal. Comrades are still busy on their virtual dictionary looking for a word to perfectly describe how dehumanized they are.
First-years, who had hopes of being business tycoons, but who are currently fighting to survive the Coronavirus, will have to sell their household items for them pay Ksh. 49,900. I think the school was too shy to add Ksh 100 to the figures so we can easily pronounce it as fifty thousand Kenya shillings.
Those who had dreams of being engineers, and teachers of the latter, will have to sell their siblings to the aliens to raise Ksh. 59, 900 just to study one year in what is chaotically now the most prestigious university.
Finally, those that hoped to save and nurse sick people, in the poorly managed health system, will have to mine the diamonds of Witwatersrand, surf across the Pacific Ocean, offer burnt sacrifices to the gods, or otherwise, they will never raise Ksh. 65, 900 required by the university for their first-year studies.
Let your little brothers are sisters waiting to become who they wanted to know this:
It doesn’t matter whether they have a swim to the deepest depths of the ocean, or fly their skeletons on top of the Bermuda Triangle, or have their families crashed by a fatal global pandemic, or get crucified on the cross like Jesus, Dedan Kimathi University does not care about all that.
And just like their peers, the school is ready to grip their necks with the heartbreaking Fee Structures, strangle their necks with expensive online classes, shatter their peace with intense schedules, and if they die on the way, they will understand that this institution, is not for the faint-hearted, nor the financially straining, nor the hunger-stricken.
After all, no university in Kenya, Africa, planet Earth, and the entire Universe, should be better than her majesty, Dedan Kimathi University. If you think education is the only uniform human brains can wear, I think Dedan Kimathi has invented new underwear. With a thin lining, and only those who are lucky to have perfect shapes will wear it.
I am a Dekut comrade, no shame! But I am really embarrassed of the frame I am. I am ugly, with a bad physique, a distended hip, and so poor that I cannot dream of moving with the storm. I am sure the University’s underwear will not fit me. Plus, its lining makes my nerves so hot. Maybe I will have to pick my dreams again, grab my testicles from the torn pockets of my cotton shorts, and go cry with my mother.
But where were the comrades? Those who are fortunate enough have a pretty handsome schedule, listening to some virtual teacher, sipping some coffee, and with Amazon headphones on their ears. Those that have to milk and feed cows, fetch water, collect firewood, plant crops, and feed their families, are busy running in the streets, scrubbing their heads, wondering where they will find money to buy some material. Material to make them a university underwear.
Let me go see climbing on trees help improve network coverage, but I will leave with the words of Grusha Vadshnaze of the Caucasian Chalk Circle, “This is an expensive joke! … Around Dekut…They think we earned money just quarantining at home…” Sanitize your minds…Comrades!
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