Police in Nairobi lobbed teargas to disperse hundreds of rioting Nairobi Aviation college students on Monday, who were protesting the airing of an investigative documentary by a local television channel, featuring alleged academic malpractices at the institution.
Police arrested at least 18 students who took part in the riots that saw the Nation Center, which houses the television channel, NTV, pelted with stones that broke windows and doors.
The students, waving twigs and placards, blocked busy Nairobi streets for over an hour and harassed motorists and journalists who tried to cover the riots.
The documentary revealed how alleged employees at the institution colluded to sell diploma and degree certificates to people who never sat in class to study for particular courses.
It also featured how students got registered to study courses without regard to their qualifications, and how some lecturers were bribed to award high grades to students.
The rioting students claimed the documentary had cast the institution in bad light, and its effect would affect their quest to find jobs as employers would doubt their qualifications.
“We are examined even by KNEC (Kenya National Examinations Council). How would that be possible if we were fake? Kaimenyi should tell us why our certificates are deemed fake yet we are registered by his ministry,” a rioting student shouted outside the Nation Center.
The college has denied issuing any certificates to unqualified students, and alleged that the documentary was unfair and intended to damage their business.
“Of course we are taking a number measures including legal action. The documentary was biased and ill-motivated,” an administrator at the college, said.
In Mombasa, college proprietors conceded that there was rot within the higher education sector, but denied involvement in such scams.
“We are not related in any way with Nairobi aviation. We run our affairs independently, and are strict and thorough,” Joshua Onyango, principal of the Mombasa Aviation training institute, told Baraka FM.