Kenyan universities told to improve PhD programmes

Higher education regulator's new rules aim to drive up standards within sector

June 29, 2017
Kenya higher education
Source: iStock

Universities in Kenya will have to update curricula on their doctoral programmes, after the higher education regulator announced new rules to improve the quality of graduates.

The Commission for University Education ordered institutions to devise new programmes by the end of the 2016-17 academic year, which integrate a mandatory one and a half years' coursework before students are allowed to start their theses.

The proposal comes after the commission stopped universities from awarding PhDs to students who solely do research and attend seminars, under the belief that this system produced weaker graduates, the Daily Nation reported. Under the new plans, universities will be required to justify the academic rigour of the doctoral courses they wish to offer.

It is hoped the new system will improve the quality of Kenya’s higher education sector, following a damning government report in February, which revealed major shortcomings at the country's 70 higher education institutions, including missing marks, poor supervision of postgraduate students and low completion rates.

PhD students will now only be allowed begin writing their thesis if they complete coursework. Degrees will not be recognised if they do not comply.

john.elmes@timeshighereducation.com

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