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Olive Mugenda. e_supervision of doctoral programmes


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Olive Mugenda. e_supervision of doctoral programmes

  1. 1. KENYATTA UNIVERSITY E - Supervision to Support the Development of Doctoral Studies in Africa Prof. Olive M. Mugenda, PhD, CBS Vice-Chancellor October, 2013
  2. 2. Introduction  Research based knowledge is a key component of development and an answer to the search for solutions to global challenges.  Building research capacity in developing countries is thus central to their development  Doctoral education has the potential to develop highly adaptive experts for dynamic knowledge economies 2
  3. 3.  Preparing Africa for a Renaissance especially concerning its challenges, requires high level research and innovation that can be founded in doctoral education  The quality of doctoral education must remain under constant monitoring  Doctoral training has tremendous catalytic potential to advance human development in the 21st century 3
  4. 4.  Quality doctoral training programs are the seedbeds for future knowledge growers, policy shapers, and academics. An important feature of postgraduate training is doctoral studies  With the realization of the growing importance of research and talent, governments and society at large alike are concerned that investments in doctoral education are appropriately managed 4
  5. 5. The Development of Doctoral Education in Africa 5
  6. 6. Doctoral studies in Africa take different forms depending on:  the colonial experience of the country, the historical and cultural backgrounds of each institution, the directions set by the respective leadership teams After gaining independence, the character of doctoral study in African universities is important to note 6
  7. 7. The target of initial doctoral programmes was to enhance the qualifications of teaching staff in the university: – doctoral students are often already employed as members of university academic staff – doctoral work part time, or in their own time – the age profile is typically older between 30 to 50 7
  8. 8. In order to support the scant efforts of African universities to produce Doctoral graduates, a number of collaborative programmes were developed : African Economic Research Consortium (AERC) Consortium for Advanced Research Training in Africa (CARTA African Doctoral Academy at the University of Stellenbosch 9
  9. 9.  Pan African University – with nodes in East, West, North & South Africa focusing on doctoral training in allocated disciplines  The German HE cooperation agency DAAD supports a number of collaborative PhD programmes, run in conjunction with individual German and African universities 10
  10. 10. Challenges facing doctoral education in Africa 11
  11. 11. 1) Shortage of PhDs in Universities The number of professors in a university is significant as it reflects the ability of the institution to offer high quality education and leadership in research Growth in academic staff has not kept pace with student enrolments in Africa Huge expansions in student enrolment are increasingly overwhelming African institutions in the absence of a corresponding increase in academic staff capacity 12
  12. 12. Source: University websites
  13. 13. Qualifications of Teaching Staff in selected Disciplines: Global Comparison of Universities Selected Disciplines Mathematics Chemistry Economics Political Science PhD No PhD PhD No PhD PhD No PhD PhD No PhD MIT 62 0 45 0 61 0 32 0 Cambridge 105 0 76 0 41 0 48 2 Oxford 143 0 94 0 56 0 116 0 Cape Town 43 3 25 0 34 0 12 4 Ghana 4 5 16 3 6 18 13 9 Nairobi 21 15 26 12 - - 8 7 14 Institutions Source: University websites
  14. 14. PhD enrolment by University & gender , 2012
  15. 15.  Some disciplines e.g. Medicine, Engineering & Actuarial science lack capacity for PhD supervision  Advanced research in these disciplines especially in Africa is fairly low compared to other disciplines like Arts and Humanities 16
  16. 16. Enrolment of Doctoral Students by University & Discipline, 2012
  17. 17. 2) Quality of PhDs  The quality of an institution of higher learning depends to a large extent on the quality of its academic staff  Likewise, the quality of doctoral students depends heavily on the quality of the supervision they get & the quality of supervisors 18
  18. 18. 3) Low completion rates  In most postgraduate programmes in African universities, the length of time it takes to complete & the low completion rate serve to discourage prospective doctoral candidates from pursuing training 20
  19. 19. 4) Lack of international exposure of faculty  Most faculty in African universities obtained their three degrees from the same university & eventually end up being employed by the university  This has become more pronounced today  The quality of faculty is, to a large extent, dependent on the international exposure acquired in graduate & post doctoral education 21
  20. 20. Factors Impacting on Doctoral education in Africa 22
  21. 21. 1) Lack of Institutional and programme policies Institutional policy as well as discipline expectations has an important role to play in the attainment of quality doctoral research supervision policies; policies, codes and structures for frequent review of doctoral research; policies and structures for quality control 23
  22. 22.  a clear supervision policy is central to the timely completion and to the quality of doctoral research  The policy should spell out in detail the responsibilities of both the student and the supervisor and delineate the consequences for not meeting one’s responsibilities 24
  23. 23. 2) Supervision  Research supervision is a facilitative process requiring support and challenge.  The two primary goals of supervision are developing research students to become capable researchers and the achievement of quality completion 25
  24. 24.  supervisors are responsible for providing satisfactory guidance and mentorship to the student in defining the research topic, designing the project, gathering material, writing and working through drafts and disseminating their work 26
  25. 25.  Supervisors should take a mentoring role; facilitating access to resources and opportunities; providing information, protection and sponsorship; stimulating the acquisition of knowledge; and serving as a role model. 27
  26. 26. 3) Massification of higher education  There is a high number of people globally, including in Africa who enroll for doctoral education  Shortage of capacity, both human & resources however impact the quality and output of doctoral studies 28
  27. 27. e-supervision to enhance doctoral studies 29
  28. 28. How e-supervision works Most countries in their attempt to reform & innovate supervision are increasingly relying on e-supervision to complement internal supervision and support. For supervision to be more effective, in the increasingly globalized academic community it is necessary to embrace esupervision 30
  29. 29. E-supervision involves: Connecting the supervisor and the student regardless of space  the use of ICT in undertaking supervision, including use of chats, skype & videoconferencing  Involving the e-supervisor in the process of thesis defense 31
  30. 30. Advantages of esupervision 32
  31. 31.  E-supervision provides the opportunity to universities to utilize the services of renowned experts in their fields without having to move them around  E-supervision enriches the quality & experience of doctoral graduates  E-supervision by both internal & external supervisors offers a productive and effective way to manage and supervise students who undertake field based research. 33
  32. 32.  E supervision has the potential to strengthen local research capacity & regional networking by upgrading whole Ph.D. systems through:  a holistic and inclusive approach, By actively involving the institutions’ management, but also administrative staff, supervisors and Ph.D. students themselves in the research design. 34
  33. 33. • E-supervision extends research and employment opportunities into remote, rural, and hard-to-fill locations where an on-site profession supervisor might not be available. • Moreover, it allows access to desirable research internships where supervision is either limited or non-existent 35
  34. 34. • E-supervision gives higher education institutions and employers the opportunity to minimize supervisors’ travel time and reduce associated transportation costs while providing a valuable and necessary service to graduate students and partnering stakeholders. 36
  35. 35. The development of an eSupervision framework 37
  36. 36. 1) Lack of a well defined e-supervision professional code of conduct  Because e-supervision is a newly emerging aspect of doctoral studies supervision, there has been lack of a well defined code of conduct between the e-supervisor and the e-supervisee. 38
  37. 37.  Inability of the supervisor to know whether to effect changes on the supervisee’s document or send them back as track changes or as another document of expected improvements exists.  Lack of a defined manner through which a supervisor and a supervisee communicate and maintain their professionalism needs to be established. This is in terms of how far an e-supervisor can go in assisting a student. 39
  38. 38. 2) Poor e-Supervisor and e-Supervisee Technological Knowhow  This can be explained as a technological challenge to most e-supervisors and esupervisees that are techno-phobic.  The fear to embrace technology has made most of them remain analogue. 40
  39. 39. 3) E- Supervision is costly  Institutions that want to embrace esupervision must invest in the necessary technology including computers and the internet 41
  40. 40. Recommendations 42
  41. 41. Should e-supervision be considered as a viable strategy to maximize the use of existing global experts in their fields, there will be need to develop an e-supervision framework by interested organizations e.g. IAU The e-supervision framework will, among other things include:  the role of e-supervisors Students & e-supervisor relationship
  42. 42.  Assurance of quality of e-supervision  Remuneration of e-supervisors  Institutional collaboration on e-supervision  Recognition of e-supervisor work by home and beneficiary institutions  Capacity building for e-supervision 44
  43. 43. Thank You Transforming Higher Education….Enhancing Lives 45