There is a high likelihood that Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) may lose their masters and PhD degrees. This is after the university was flagged for flouting regulations in awarding post-graduate degrees. The Commission for University Education (CUE) has called for a review of doctorate degrees awarded since 2014 following the findings of a report commissioned by Education CS George Magoha.
According to the report, there were misconducts in the award of masters and PhD degrees during the last three graduation ceremonies at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technlogy.
Consequently, CUE has directed the university Senate to meet and make decisions on the issues raised and report back to the commission within three months.
The report indicates that students were admitted for PhD programmes without relevant academic Bachelor’s degree for admission into Master’s programme. The report has raised eyebrows on the admission of students to postgraduate programmes and opened a fresh debate over the quality of academic papers from the universities.
In a span of 12 months between June 2018 and June 2019, the university awarded 308 PhDs and 1101 masters degrees.
The report said the university relied on the understaffed satellite campuses to provide postgraduate diplomas, further compromising the quality of supervision.
Only 41 per cent of the masters and doctorate degrees were pursued in the main campus in Juja. The report raised doubt on the quality of the papers, saying the programmes are mainly centred in research and need huge contact hours between the student and supervisors.
It said supervisors handled at least 15 students at the time of graduation due to understaffing. Standards require academic staff to supervise not more than three PhD students and five for masters degree.
In one instance, a supervisor oversaw 41 master’s students besides supervising 14 PhD students, the report says.
The same supervisors were also handling continuing students including those pursuing Bachelors degrees. Out of the 118 PhD graduates during 33rd graduation, 112 were approved by the Senate and their names appeared in Graduation Booklet
It is a requirement for PhDs students to be tracked and their progress documented at every stage. The report shows there was evidence of completed students’ progress reports in the respective files.
Ironically, the institution had the fewest doctorates in the fields of science and technology, areas in which the university is best known.
The College of Human Resource Development had the biggest number (89), 40 of which were Doctor of Philosophy (Business Administration).