Magoha Orders Probe of Local Universities’ PhDs amid Quality Concerns

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Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha has directed investigations into the PhDs awarded by local universities amid concerns that some of the postgraduate degrees are substandard or were obtained irregularly.

Prof Magoha said he had asked the Commission for University Education (CUE) to establish whether the PhDs met set standards.

He said he had personally come across PhD graduates in several interviews who could not explain issues related to their purported areas of study, suggesting some commissioned their postgraduate research to third parties.

“Holding a paper does not mean anything. Some universities are producing more than 100 PhDs per year but when you look at the quality, it is only 10 who merit to have the doctorate degrees,” said Prof Magoha.

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The Cabinet Secretary said employers were concerned with the quality of graduates from local universities.

Vice-chancellors committee chairman Francis Aduol echoed Prof Magoha’s sentiments, narrating how he interviewed two PhD graduates for lecturer positions whom he found to be ill-trained.

Last month, Kenya was described as a hotbed of academic dishonesty, where jobless graduates are minting millions of shillings writing thesis and term papers for students in the United Kingdom.

Doctorate candidates reportedly pay £2,000 (Sh264,000) to £6,000 for dissertations.

“Kenya is the hotbed where the writing happens. There is high unemployment and a job working from home is coveted. They have good English and low overheads,” Dr Thomas Lancaster, a senior fellow at Imperial College, London, was quoted by the British press as saying.

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