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Why you should be worried about your academic papers

By Augustine Oduor | Published Sat, February 25th 2017 at 00:00, Updated February 24th 2017 at 23:39 GMT +3

 

You should be worried about the quality of the academic paper you wrote and presented before graduation, the findings of the audit report indicate.

The confidential CUE audit report exposed major breaches on compliance with thesis and research projects.

It says that only 50 universities that offer postgraduate degrees had supervision frameworks while five did not have the quality tool at all. The five are in Nyanza, Coast and greater Nairobi.

The report further finds that even in cases where the supervision framework existed, their implementation were found to be inhibited by lack of access to the document by the students and supervisors.

“In some incidence universities were found to contravene their own supervision framework like at (two universities in Mt Kenya) where masters degree holder was supervising a masters thesis,” says the report.

And in some cases, supervisors were misallocated, with one assigned to supervise a thesis outside their field.

“It was observed that some universities did not adhere to Commissions guidelines on supervision workload hence many supervisors were found to be overloaded,” says report.

During graduation, the report finds that other university organs other than the senates approved some universities graduation lists.

The report finds that a public university in Nyanza and a Christian University in Nairobi had two graduation. In one case, there was a difference between the senate approved graduation list and the final list in the graduation booklet.

“For instance, there were students who were not on the initial Senate approved graduation list but were in the final graduation booklet,” said report.

The report cites a case at a private university in Nairobi and a public one in North Rift where graduation lists were not subject to departmental approval and supervisors’ approval respectively.

And at a university in the South Rift students with missing marks were cleared to graduate, while at a city faith-based university students graduated before completing their courses. One public university in Nyanza claimed it had not graduated any PhD students while their graduation list said contrary.

And on plagiarism, it was found that most universities did not have a policy, software or mechanism for checking plagiarism.

“There was no evidence that students research proposals were subjected to plagiarism checks. It was noted that the percentage of acceptable plagiarized material (at a university in Nyanza) was 30 per cent,” says report.

Some universities like Chuka however had detailed graduation procedures that were effectively implemented, says report.

“The requirement that students publish before graduating is also being flouted in some universities,” says report. And on teaching, according to the report, only 56 universities of the 70 inspected complied with the minimum standards on instructional hours and workload. At a public university in Western, for instance, the Masters of Science in Economics had 420 instructional hours, which was below the minimum 630 required.

A Christian university in Nairobi had academic programs where a student graduated within a year, where a student was admitted in 2011 and graduated in 2012 and another one admitted in 2012 and graduated in 2013.

In its overall recommendation, the report calls for recall of the irregularly awarded qualifications.


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