One way to avoid “cavalier attitudes” in vivas is to stop having vivas altogether. What purpose does the viva serve after a PhD has been examined by an internal and two external examiners, which in the case of some top South African universities must be from overseas?
To judge from the article “Cavalier attitudes lead to uncivil practices in the conduct of vivas” (Opinion, 15 May), it would seem only to put the student under further and, in my view, unnecessary stress and to offer the viva participants the opportunity to enjoy a reception or luncheon invitation with the host university. A waste of time and energy, and not without emotional and often financial costs to the candidate. No wonder senior academics shy away from it.
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