Varsities, communities must coexist peacefully

Friday, January 17th, 2020 18:41 |

The proposal by the government to constitute community security committees in institutions of higher learning is timely and crucial.

The committees will be tasked with ensuring harmonious coexistence between the institutions and communities around them to minimise hostilities.

Granted, tertiary institutions, especially universities have become breeding grounds of social vices and crime. 

Even worse, the institutions have become the favourite target for radicalisation by militants, especially al Qaeda and its appendage, al Shabaab.

There have been credible reports that some students have gone missing, only to be discovered to be undergoing terror-related training in Somalia and Syria.

Away from radicalisation, which is a nightmare for security and law enforcement agencies, students in these institutions have been reported to dabble in armed crime, or used their hostels to conceal the spoils of crime.

These and other ills that bedevil learning institutions must be addressed as a matter of urgency, as they have tended to fester at the hands of those who should be involved in tackling the menace.

Furthermore, traders and other businesses located close to such institutions bear the brunt of student riots whenever there are disturbances.

Clearly, these are issues that must be addressed, especially before they erupt because when they do, the businesspeople are left counting losses. This need not be the case.

The move to involve officials in the administration is especially critical as they have closer contact with students, as indeed with other members of society.

Students must, however, always bear in mind that the commercial interests near their learning institutions are there to facilitate their learning experience and is their first port of call when they start hunting for jobs.

There have been cases where employers in the Nairobi Central Business District have been reluctant to recruit graduates from some institutions, given their predilection to disrupt businesses and cause damage during riots.

The point here is that the conduct of students has a direct bearing on their fortunes, especially with regard to the manner they interact with the communities near them.

The spirit of coexistence must be nurtured for the mutual benefit of the two parties. Indeed, a symbiotic relationship is the ideal situation. It must become the new goal.

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