The Covid-19 Pandemic caught everyone by surprise with little or no certainty on the future and especially on matters of handling student-related issues more so when the pandemic was at its peak. The Government went ahead to close down all academic Institutions including the Universities. As such, the University of Nairobi’s Kenya Science Campus admitted to have struggled while figuring out on the best methodologies and strategies to adopt so as to take care of everything while at the same time fully engage students for the good and relevance of the University’s core mandate. It is indeed at this very moment that UNESCO/UNITWIN ELIMIKA WAJIBIKA Program came in handy to support students in offering counseling support. Led by the Office of the Dean of Students, the Campus management has been largely involved in supporting the implementation of the UNESCO/UNITWIN Elimika Wajibika Programme. The programme which was established to spread the message of hope to the youth/students in the face of a public health crisis came in at the time when its objective was needed most. The programme has positively impacted to the well-being of students during this time of Covid-19 Pandemic as most of them have admitted to have gained a lot.
In line with this development, the Campus Management did come up with a number of activities to help foster and positively engage students as they wait for the full operationalization of the University. The activities were aimed at boosting the mandate and objective of the UNESCO/UNITWIN Elimika Wajibika Programme. The Office of Assistant Dean of Students at the Kenya science Campus took a key role in offering guidance, advice and reassurance by way of spreading the message of hope to individual students through phone calls, short text messages and social media platforms. This has been effective as a record of over 800 KSC students have been reached out to from March 2020 to date, a clear indicator of commitment to the talk.
Key to this process was the establishment of the KSC Covid -19 support group that comprises 10 students whose main objective is to provide counselling and guidance to fellow students on matters Covid-19 and especially on Challenges they encounter. The group has indeed given their best having worked tirelessly in collaboration with the Assistant Dean of Students with the aim of mitigating students’ challenges during this period of COVID-19 Pandemic. Through this process, useful data on students’ concerns has been gathered and documented, and as such, students have been linked to appropriate services. To this end, needy students and those living with disabilities have continued to benefit from available support during this Covid period.
As much as the Campus Management has continuously made efforts to ensure the smooth running of students’ activities during the Pandemic, a number of challenges have indeed proven to be hindering this transition. The Kenya Science Campus’ Students have continually faced financial constraints which have resulted to them struggling to raise school fees and other basic needs. Online learning has also been hit hard as poor network connectivity in some parts of the Country has made it almost impossible for this noble exercise to progress effectively. Learning gadgets like laptops aimed to facilitate the e-learning process were inadequate, same as to bundles for data.
The Pandemic has also hit the Campus directly as Four students were reported to have been quarantined as a result of being in contact with Covid-19 Positive cases.
Finally, through the guidance of the Office of the Dean of Students, the Campus Management is geared towards endeavoring to offer continuous necessary required support to students through various platforms and especially the recently established students kitty, counseling services at campus level, the proposed students’ wellness Centre and RADA app among others platforms.