Nairobi Aviation Expose`

the half baked journalists, or are they?
On Monday NTV aired a News feature dubbed "Certificates of Doom" which saw the expose facing serious opposition and criticism from different quarters including the internet community, with many feeling that it is malicious and ill-motivated to taint the name of Nairobi Aviation College.

One of the Bloggers  Nahason Kimemia posted

"Dennis Okari did an investigative report titled ‘Certificates of Doom,’ aired by NTV on Sunday, 1 February 2015. The report focused on Aviation College, showing how the focus ofthe institution is on money they receive from students as opposed to the quality of graduates they churn out into the job market. It also shows how corruption is rife within the institution such that students get certificates or marks for courses they either failed or never did.

This report by Okari is a mere case study, not an investigative report, for the later normally reveals what we did not know. In fact, it is a poor case study because it fails to take note of key issues surrounding our education sector. More importantly, its incessant focus on a single institution reads as more of a witch-hunt and not an attempt at uncovering the ills plaguing tertiary institutions in our country.You might even say that this ‘investigative report’ is a classic example of the half-baked journalism that is prevalent in Kenya given thequality of ‘reports’ and news delivered by our journalists.Why is Okari’s ‘investigative report’ a failure? First, it trivializes the magnitude of the problem by focusing on a single and almost inconsequentialinstitution, making it very easy for the authorities to sit pretty and do nothing after it airs. Second, it does not appreciate the struggle of ordinary Kenyans whose education system failed them, not vice versa.Finally, Okari decides to report this matter to the people that he should be investigating i.e. the people who enable such things to happen.It is clear that Okari was looking for a fix, a high or more accurately, a wave to ride on similar to the wave Moha rode on after the Kanyiri exposé.Kenyans do not have jobs, and this is a fact that those who earn income including Okari should begin to appreciate. Parents, who lack vision, indoctrinate their children with the idea that a degree matters in this country. This idea is a lie, but it is a lie many Kenyans continue to believe. An academic degree in this country is as useful as the sight of a beautiful painting to a blind man.Connections, proximity to people who can make things happen and social standing are the only things that matter in this country when it comes to getting a job. The ignorant will quickly jump up and say, “That is not true. I applied for a job and got it.” Forgive such people, they have never heard of survivor bias. Educate them if you can.Who is the victim and who is the villain. Okari fails to tackle this question because such questions do not invite straight answers. The man selling academic papers for a fee is not necessarily the same as the man who asks forsexual favors for the same papers. The latter is a villain, no doubt, but the former may as well be a victim of circumstances. The salary lecturers receive at Aviation College, and their working conditions were matters worthy of note, but the ‘report’ brushed over such serious issues.The circumstances surrounding the students seeking those papers should be of interest to us. It was not of interest to Okari. You see, drug addicts think of nothing else after a fix orhigh and likewise, half-baked journalists thinkof nothing past their fix, high or wave.This case study had one inarguable flaw. It treated perpetrators as potential liberators. You will see Kaimenyi, the Education Cabinet Secretary, visibly surprised at what he already knows happens throughout the country, or so I believe he does. You will see the same person expressing outrage at people selling certificates yet his colleagues i.e. Cabinet Secretaries are the ones creating a conducive environment for such things to happen. Did you see how he belittled three thousand shillings when 4 out of 10 Kenyans live on a dollar a day?
Where were the hard questions? For example, who is in charge of overseeing matters involving Aviation College within the ministry?Where was this person when all this was happening? Did he take bribes from the college? What disciplinary measures will Kaimenyi consider against him for enabling such activities through either action or inaction? There were no specifics offered or asked.
Vagueness was the order of the day.The top ten percent in Kenya pocket more than 44% of our national income. The one whobelongs to the top ten percent made jokes, talked tough and promised action during the interview while the one who aspires to be in that group indulged him.
The ‘report’ concludes with ‘ordinary Kenyans’ giving their opinion on this issue. Nowhere in the ‘report’ did I hear the cries of most Kenyans. For instance, Okari does not find a single student who lost or did not get a job because the employer felt funny about the Aviation certificate. He does not delve deeply into the plight of lecturers at the institution, before and after they secured employment at the college.
 He does not interview any of the people exposed in his case study. I for one would like to know what drove them to such lengths. Did they do it out of greed or poverty? They can lie but at least we would get a chance to decipher those lies through either inconsistent explanations or body language.This ‘report’ sparks a healthy debate while shifting focus from the Education Ministry to the Aviation College. People will demand answers from a minor college instead of focusing on a single institution that can change the entire education system if we put enough pressure on it to do so.
Our efforts and energies will go in the wrong direction, managing a single symptom instead of curingthe disease. We will have lost too much energy and momentum to do anything when we finally come to our senses yet those we should have put on the spot would have reorganized and improved their tactics."

On the same Dennis Okari the day latter wrote:

 By Dennis Okari
When we did ‪#‎CertificatesOfDoom‬, we did so with full knowledge that there are thousands of other colleges and Universities subverting the education system through fraud.
We seem to agree almost in reverberation there is rot in our higher institutions of learning.Those who think that exposing more colleges and universities would have made the story more ‘acceptable’ are sweeping the truth under the carpet.
The strength of any Investigative story is centered on admissible evidence. What we had was Nairobi Aviation College. I wish we had more. (Don’t hesitate to reach me if you have evidence of malpractice where you are, we will do the story)
Someone rightly said, three men robbed a bank, only one was caught, is it injustice to expose him? Your guess is as good as mine.
ACCUSATION: I was paid by Kilemi Mwiria/Competitors/UAC.
They made me do the story? The lucid explanation to this, to ‘finish’ Nairobi Aviation College.
FACT: I don’t have a clue what UAC stands for. I don’t even know Kilemi Mwiria in person. There is no single proof connecting me to any organization or individuals or amount of money I was paid. The burden of proof lies with those raising these claims.
It’s interesting that ‘motive’ rather than Truth is being dragged along a mishmash of misunderstanding, gross exaggeration, falsified claims that are just plain wrong.
ACCUSATION: We paid fake lecturers to speak.
FACT: We have pay slips complete with PIN numbers and college stamps plus signatures, Employee names and numbers, appointment letters, staff meeting photos of the lecturers I spoke to. Before we started filming we had to verify their identities. All letters signed by the HR.
ACCUSATION: The people I interviewed are bitter because they were fired.
FACT: You will be surprised. One of them approached me because his faith cannot allow him to continue serving in a flawed system. His words not mine.
ACCUSATION: The certificates we bought are not from inside the school.
FACT: Our undercover student dealt with a man who works at Nairobi Aviation College. Pampula Ignatius whose elder brother is a senior principal in one of the campuses, received Ksh 4,000 through Mpesa. He is the one who proposed a meeting at a city hotel where he was given a down payment of Ksh 1,000 on 14/01/2015 at 1:47pm.
Six hours later he called our undercover student and the two met at another hotel where he delivered three documents.
a) A brand new original Diploma in Aeronautical Engineering
b) A leaving certificate (Date of issue 19th December, 2013) *Backdated
c) An Academic Transcript with 15 units with a ‘B’ Credit in Aeronautical Engineering.
He was paid the second installment Ksh 3,000.
Total Ksh 4,000. Everything was recorded on camera.
ACCUSATION: The documents we showed on TV are fake
FACT: We got them from the college or for argument sake an officer of the Nairobi Aviation stole copies from inside the college and sold them to us. They are genuine documents and we verified this. He is on record bragging how he has helped so many students across Nairobi Aviation campuses acquire the documents without setting foot in class.
Actually, another student from Nairobi Aviation College who had bought certificates from him gave our undercover student the number of the official.
FACT: Did we get a class 6 drop out to register as an Electricity and Electrical Engineering student? Yes we did, without any form of documentation.
He was registered after paying Ksh 7,200 on 13/01/2015 and was served by Mbula at 2:24 pm.
His fee included – Activity Fee = 1,000.00
College ID Fee = 300.00
Library Fee = 1,000.00
Magazine = 320.00
Registration Fee = 500.00
Stationery Fee = 880:00
Student Welfare Fund = 200.00
Tuition Fee = 3,000.00
TOTAL = 7,200
We have undercover footage of his first day in class with the first lesson, ‘Clinical thermometer’ on 16/01/2015 in the afternoon.
ACCUSATION: The college management said yesterday, the exam papers I claimed, as ‘Unmarked’ are fake. They don’t belong to the college.
FACT: We have stacks of exam papers from four departments that were never marked in the year 2012 and 2013 (End of year).
We have admission numbers, courses, subjects and series. We have the green question papers by Nairobi Aviation College Examination Board (NACEB) plus answers from students.
Lecturers graded the students based on their feelings and how they knew the students. I don’t think those students know they wasted time doing exams and they were never marked.
How did we get them? Lecturers from inside the college gave them to us.
ACCUSATION: We never gave the Nairobi Aviation a chance to respond.
FACT: Nothing can be further from the truth. The first person I phoned was the owner, Peter Manyuru on 28/01/2015 at 8:56am
Manyuru told me he was in Bungoma and referred me to a Mr Barasa. I met Barasa and a Mr Kemboi who agreed they’ve handled cases of certificates being given out to students through dubious means and they were shocked it was still going on. They admitted there have been cases of fake certificates connected to Nairobi Aviation. It’s so clear in the TV clip.
They were not aware I was secretly filming them. I requested for an interview but they kept taking me round in circles making endless phone calls. The 2 minute clip as seen in the story is part of over an hour of going back and forth. It was either an interview or something else. That’s the impression I got.
They agreed to call me at 6pm on 29/01/2015 to confirm the person I will interview. They failed to call as agreed. I tried reaching out to the officials including the owner of Nairobi Aviation but no one wanted to speak to me. I stayed at work waiting for them until 10:21pm when I sent them a text message pleading with them to arrange for an interview the following morning 30/01/2015. Time was running out and the final edit had a gap where I was to insert their response.
Mr Manyuru sent me a text at 11:23 pm saying he couldn’t speak to me because it was late. He promised to call the following morning.
30/01/2015 Mr Barasa called me at around 9:40am asking to meet him with no cameras. They didn’t want an interview and I will not speculate why, but it was clear I was not getting an interview.
The rest as they say is history but phone records and texts are evidence enough. I am told they went to court to get an injunction but i never saw it, I don’t even know who received it.
You want the truth? That’s the truth.
ACCUSATION: I have no pity for students at NAC
FACT: That’s why I did the story. The bigger picture is clear to those who can see it.
SO WHAT’S THE POINT
Nairobi Aviation has been operating without a Kenya Civil Aviation Authority accreditation for 16 years and no one bothered to check, yet they offer aviation courses.
When you pay over Ksh 300,000 to stay in class and spend hours studying for exams and someone just walks in and buys the same certificate you are struggling to get for Ksh 3,000. It should worry you.
It is painful for parents to break banks and give way for such institutions to gobble up their savings in greed. To detour off the path of those comfortable with the status quo, my conscious will not allow me.
Will I bury my head in the sand because every college and university cheats and I should leave everyone alone? A thousand times NO.
It was apparent the rot in Nairobi Aviation had to be unfurled by someone to conjure up a sober conversation.
When your institution is riddled with corruption and other vices, someone should expose it. That fight is ugly and involves sweat and blood but it should wake you up. Throwing stones at a building and causing chaos is only punching the air.
Of course I feel terrible for innocent students but two wrongs don’t make a right.
Students need to channel their outrage to the management. Ask the questions I would have asked and GET ANSWERS.

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