Train supervisors, don tells African varsities
Train supervisors, don tells African varsities. Director, Centre for Science and Technology Studies, Technical University of Kenya, Prof. Maurice Amutabi, has advised African universities to train supervisors before unleashing them on innocent graduate students.
Amutabi, in an essay titled, ‘Need to address supervisor menace for graduate students in Kenyan universities,’ which he posted on USA Africa Dialogue Series on Monday, said universities should also increase the number of members on thesis or dissertation supervision committees from one or two to at least three or four.
‘‘Research has revealed that the fewer the supervisors per student, the more students are slowed down and the more conflicts. More supervisors mean more opinions.
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‘‘Producing more graduate degrees depends on good planning and effective supervision, which is lacking in many of our universities.
‘‘There should be training on the art of supervising. I recall when I joined Central Washington University as an Assistant Professor; I was taken through one-month training and asked to mark ‘dummy’ masters and doctoral theses which were marked by senior scholars. One needed to get the same grade as the rest of the trainees to be allowed to supervise. There are people who repeated the training two or more times before qualifying. Supervisors need to make useful and meaningful comments on students’ work and not statements such as “move to the next chapter” or “recast the entire work” “we need to talk” “no progress” or “did you attend my research class really” or “I am increasingly beginning to believe that PhD. is not for everyone” or “kindly request for another supervisor” and other statements which demean the efforts of students.