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Representing the DVC Academic and Students Affairs Prof. Hussein Golicha, Prof. Danstone Lilechi Baraza, who is also the Director-Quality Assurance at MMUST, highlighted important aspects that will enhance the policy making process. He emphasized on the need to enact rules that govern student study period and student discontinuation, protection of supervisors from student threats, generation of a good work plan and techniques to manage it. “We need to enact rules that control the publication of materials.  In addition, there is need to fully equip and allocate DPS with resources for better operation and quality defenses,” said Prof. Baraza as he officially opened the workshop.

image 2022 06 10T080631.205Director, Postgraduate Studies, Prof. Stephen Odebero leads the discussions at the workshop.

Professor of Kiswahili and Cultural Linguistics, Prof. Inyani Simala, who was present during the workshop reiterated the importance of reviewing policies governing Postgraduate Studies in Universities. “Reviewing this policies and regulations not only ensures accountability and responsibility among staff and students but also enables the University to provide quality academic services. We want to be customer focused while maintaining quality,” said Prof. Simala.

The highly informative workshop was moderated by the Director of Postgraduate Studies, Prof. Stephen Odebero. Some of the topics covered during the policy review included ‘Case study research’, ‘Divisions and subdivisions on policies’, ‘Rules and regulations governing the operations of Postgraduate studies’.  The board revised rules regarding ‘Examination and Assessment’, ‘Code of conduct for staff and students’, ‘Disciplinary actions’, ‘Supervision of research projects for Masters and PhD candidates’ as well as ‘Registration and admission guidelines.’ Thesis writing guidelines, grading of coursework and thesis were also reviewed.

This comes four years since the University board last reviewed the policies in November 2019. Prof. Odebero pointed out that the revision of the policy manual comes with a lot of goodies, a number of corrections prepared to improve and ensure quality service provision in the University. “There was a need for the board to review the Postgraduate policies for it is a government directive for institutions to review their policies after a period of four years. Therefore, it was time to institute tight policies and regulations,” said Prof. Odebero.

image 2022 06 10T080634.381Chairman of the Postgraduate Studies Board, Prof. John Shiundu shares a light moment at the DPS Policy Review Workshop.

Echoing Prof. Odebero’s sentiments, the Chairman of the Postgraduate Studies Board, Prof. John Shiundu noted that University Education requires a clear code of conduct and disciplinary actions to guide staff and students’ postgraduate studies. “Supervision of research projects for Masters and PhD candidates should be done by academically qualified staff,” said Prof. Shiundu.

image 2022 06 10T080638.729Coordinator, short courses and webometrics Dr. Dennis Ochieno explains a point during a group discussion session.

Other members of the Board of Postgraduate Studies who participated in the workshop were Prof. Benedict Alala, Dr. Catherine Aurah, Prof. J. Aggrey Oloo, Prof. Francis Muyekho, Prof. Pontium G. Okoth, Dr. Consolata Ngala, Dr. James Owour, Dr. Edwin Kanda, Dr. Damaris Ochanda, Dr. Dennis Ochieno, Mr. Raydon Mutoka, and Mr. Ramadhan Khatia. Ms. Jocelyne Mukwa, an administrator in the office of the DVC Academic and Students Affairs also attended the two-day workshop.

Some of the key recommendations that emerged out of the workshop included reverting the directorate to its former role and name as the School of Graduate Studies that would report to DVC, Academic and Student Affairs. Further it was agreed that examiners, supervisors and students go through an induction process besides coming up with a policy or a student friendly manual that will enable students finish their studies and graduate on time.

Other suggestions were that clear guidelines on thesis writing and supervision be crafted and a new grading system involving creation of high distinction positions for postgraduate students who exceptionally do well be developed. It was proposed that students who present extraordinarily good theses be upgraded from Masters to PhDThis would be a replica of the case studies of Prof. Francis Muyekho of MMUST, the late Walter Rodney, the late William Robert Ochieng’ who presented their Master’s theses that were upgraded to PhD because they were exceedingly good.  

The policy review is a step in the right direction and what remains is for the DPS Board to table the draft reviewed policy for approval by the Senate and thereafter the Senate will present the changes proposed to the University Council which will approve and authorize the implementation of the reviewed guidelines. 

By Kyama Justus and Gabriel Juma 

Photos by Gabriel Juma

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