Universities enforce rules on PhD courses

University of Nairobi Vice Chancellor Peter Mbithi (left) converses with Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i during an induction workshop for public universities council members held at a Naivasha hotel on April 10, 2017. Prof Mbithi has also instructed heads of departments at the university to ensure they deliver solid programmes. PHOTO | MACHARIA MWANGI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

What you need to know:

  • Doctorate students will only be allowed to write their theses after completing course work.
  • University of Eldoret Vice-Chancellor Teresa Akenga said the institution has implemented the directive by CUE.

Universities are burning the midnight oil developing new curricula for the doctorate degree programme after the higher education regulator introduced tough rules that require students to undertake course work for at least one and a half academic year before doing research.

The institutions are supposed to come up with the programmes and have them approved by their senates and the Commission for University Education (CUE) by the end of the year.

The commission has stopped the award of doctorate degrees to students who directly conduct research and are taught through seminars, saying such a system produced weak graduates.

AWARDING OF DEGREES
Universities must now show justification for the doctorate programmes they seek to offer.

The new development is expected to bring order in the education sector after a damning report on university education released in February indicated that degrees were not being awarded in the right manner.

Doctorate students will only be allowed to write their theses after completing course work, failure to which their degrees will not be recognised.

COURSE WORK
At the University of Nairobi, the Graduate School has asked various schools and departments to work hard to ensure that the new policy is implemented.

“As you are aware, in line with CUE requirements and the satisfaction of the university performance contracting, you are expected to introduce course work for all the PhD programmes that currently do not have course work before the end of the 2016/2017 academic year,” the director of the school, Prof Lydia Njenga, said in a June 12 memo to deans and directors of schools and faculties.

“You are requested to give a report to Graduate School on the progress before June 19 and to forward your programmes to us before the next academic year 2017/2018 commences.”

CURRICULUM
Vice-Chancellor Peter Mbithi has also instructed heads of departments at the university to ensure they deliver solid programmes that can attract students from all over the world.

He has also directed the quality team at the university to work with individual departments and schools to ensure degree programmes meet the commission’s and international requirements.

A spot check at the university revealed that various departments are implementing the directives, with the School of Journalism having already developed a draft curriculum that is awaiting approval by the institution’s Senate.

EDUCATION QUALITY
The principal of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Prof Enos Njeru, recently called a meeting of the college academic board to ascertain that the college, which has about 60,000 students, was ready to offer its programmes by December.

“As a college, we are determined to ensure that our envisaged course work for PhD programmes are of the highest quality that will continue to put the institution in world academic map,” Prof Njeru said.

University of Eldoret Vice-Chancellor Teresa Akenga said the institution has implemented the directive by CUE.

“We have already implemented such that all our PhD students take course work,” Prof Akenga said.

Maasai Mara University Vice-chancellor Mary Walingo said all programmes at the institution have course work.

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