26 June 2019

Kenya: Revealed - How JKUAT Broke CUE Rules in Awarding 118 PhDs

Fresh details have emerged on the 118 doctorate degrees that were awarded by Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) last week.

Analysis of the awards shows a lecturer supervised 16 doctorate students, which is against the Commission for University Education (CUE) requirement of one lecturer per three PhD students.

Another lecturer supervised 14 students while another one had 10 candidates.

There is also a lecturer who supervised six PhD students.

The university based in Juja, Kiambu County, also graduated 660 Master's students which means they were also supervised by some of the lecturers who checked the work of PhD students.

Doctorate and master's students are supposed to be supervised by lecturers with doctorate degrees.

SUPERVISION EXPERIENCE

According to CUE, an academic staff shall be assigned students to supervise on thesis or dissertation based on a combination of his or her teaching load, administrative duties, and supervision experience and capacity.

"The maximum number of students an academic staff shall supervise in any given academic year shall be: master's - 5 and doctorate - 3," reads the regulations.

At JKUAT, out of the 118, PhDs awarded, the College of Human Resource Development had the biggest number of PhDs (89) of which 40 were Doctor of Philosophy (Business Administration).

The fewest doctorates were in the fields of science and technology, areas which the university is best known for.

School of Engineering only managed to produce four PhDs, College of Agriculture, for which the university is named, only produced six PhDs, and College of Pure and Applied Sciences produced seven PhDs while College of Health Sciences produced 10 PhDs.

CUE has since announced that it will investigate how the whole process that led to the award of the doctorate degrees was conducted following public outcry.

DEFENCE PROCEDURES

In its investigations, CUE will be looking at the defence procedures, supervision of the programmes among others as it moves to protect the credibility of doctorate and master's degree programmes in Kenya.

CUE has powers to revoke such degrees.

Kenyans had questioned why the university was producing many PhDs with no innovations despite being an agriculture and technology institution.

Experts in education also questioned the quality of the thesis submitted by the doctorate graduates noting that at PhD level, students cannot talk about effects and influence of an issue in a research topic.

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