Varsities set to know fate on lecturers rule

CUE Chairman Chacha Nyaigotti Chacha. Universities will next week know whether only lecturers with doctoral degrees will be allowed to teach at the institutions. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDUA GROUP

What you need to know:

  • In 2014, the regulator gave universities five years to implement the rule requiring that lecturers must have doctorates.

  • Lecturers with master’s degrees were reduced to tutorial or junior research fellows, also known as teaching assistants.

  • Kenya has less than 10,000 PhD holders, and requires 1,000 PhDs per year in order to narrow the student-to-lecturer ratio.

Universities will next week know whether only lecturers with doctoral degrees will be allowed to teach at the institutions.

This follows the expiry of a deadline that was issued in 2014 by the Commission for University Education (CUE) that by November 2018, all university lecturers must have a PhD.

Universities struggling to attract the best lecturers have been anxiously waiting for the directive, which is expected to have serious effects.

There has been growing concerns over the small pool of professors in the country, putting to question the implementation of the guidelines.

In 2014, the regulator gave universities five years to implement the rule requiring that lecturers must have doctorates.

DOCTORATE DEGREES

Lecturers with master’s degrees were reduced to tutorial or junior research fellows, also known as teaching assistants.

On Tuesfay, CUE chairman Chacha Nyaigotti Chacha confirmed that the commission will issue guidelines on the matter.

“We are aware that by this year, all lecturers must have doctorate degrees to teach in universities,” said Prof Chacha, but declined to state what is likely to happen.

The development comes in the wake of a report by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics that indicates there is a decline in postgraduate enrolment in public universities, which fell by more than a half last year.

It showed that 32,977 students registered to pursue master’s and PhD courses, down from 67,407 students in 2016, reflecting a drop of 51.07 percent.

ENROLMENT DIPPED

This marked the first time in more than 15 years that postgraduate enrolment had dipped as universities promoted the courses in efforts to grow their revenues.

A report released last year highlighted delays in student progression, especially at the postgraduate level.

“For example, a student took 11 years to graduate with a PhD and others took between 9-14 years to graduate with a master’s degree,” added the report.

A report by the commission indicates that for the past one year, close to 6,000 students enrolled in universities for PhDs, but only 369 graduated.

Kenya has less than 10,000 PhD holders, and requires 1,000 PhDs per year in order to narrow the student-to-lecturer ratio.

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