Kakamega being in western Kenya has been able to develop majorly due to educational institutions which are available in this region. After the learning institutions are established especially those of higher learning, the students help in the development process. For instance, when the students are around which increase the overall population, this enable prosperity of the already established businesses as well as the setting up of others thereby the area experience development.
Students since they are in large numbers around this town, the town also develop due to the accommodation required by these students. Since most of these universities are unable to accommodate all its students, private hostels are built around this area to provide accommodation thereby bringing along development in the area.
Kakamega is therefore one of the towns in Kenya which has developed due to setting up of universities. There are various universities in Kakamega which admits students and offer courses which most students prefer to leave other towns and come to Kakamega to study in these institutions. The universities and universities branches which are majorly known and based in Kakamega include;
i) Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology (MMUST) – this is the major university in Kakamega as its main Campus is located in this town along the Kakamega-Webuye road. The largest proportion of Kakamega town population is made of the students from this university. Since it is a public university, it admits students from all over the country and has a population of approximately 20,000 who majorly reside in this town.
ii) Mount Kenya University (MKU) – this university is also available in Kakamega but it only has its branch in this town. It is located in Mega Mall located in Kakamega Municipality opposite to the famous Muliro Garden. This university students are most available within Kakamega town as they have to find hostels within the town as their institution being a branch do not have their own hostels. However, recently, the universities is in the process of construction of their own complex in Kakamega Town for their students.
iii) University of Nairobi, Kakamega Branch – University of Nairobi being the largest university in Kenya has ensured that Kenyans can access university education from their locations or nearby. From this therefore, it has developed its branches in various towns and among them is Kakamega. It has an Extra Mural Centre in Kakamega which admits students from within the area for studying different programmes they offer. Since it is a world class university, its Centre in Kakamega also has a largest population despite it being a study Centre as people view University of Nairobi as the best and prestigious university which offer good courses and have the best teaching staff.
iv) Kenyatta University – this is another university in Kenya which is very developed and offer variety of courses which either can or cannot be found In other Kenyan universities. From the development point of view, Kenyatta university therefore have a Centre of Regional Development in Kakamega Town in which it offer courses related to the development of regions and trade. This is a Study Centre and therefore their population is not much as compared to other universities and branches around Kakamega. This study Centre is located in the Holden Mall along the Kakamega- Webuye Road few Metres away from Kakamega Main Bus Station.
v) Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) – JKUAT is also available in Kakamega as one of the best universities in the region. This university’s branch was established earlier before the other university branches available in this region and therefore it has a reasonable population in connection to its period of operation in Kakamega. This branch in Kakamega is located in Ambwere Complex and offer most courses offered by JKUAT Main Campus. This therefore makes the Kakamega residents being able to access these courses without being forced to look for a vacancy in the Main Campus which could turn out to be difficult.
Kakamega therefore is experiencing vast development as a result of these universities. Within a short period of time, Kakamega would be one of the developed towns in Kenya. The other factor which majorly contribute for the students preferring this town for their studying is that, it have a cool and quite environment suitable for studying.