Education experts to discuss scarcity of researchers in regional varsities

Prof. Philip Cotton, the vice-chancellor of the University of Rwanda (UR) will be among the participants at the meeting. Nadege Imbabazi.

The limited number of qualified senior lecturers and researchers in regional universities to meet the demands of expanding postgraduate and mentorship programs will be top on the agenda ion a meeting that opens tomorrow in Kigali.

The three-day workshop will be held at the Kigali Marriot hotel and will host senior officials from private and public universities from six EAC partner states; Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.

It will seek ways of building the capacity of quality supervision of postgraduate studies.

It was organised by Inter-University Council for East Africa (IUCEA), German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC)—through its flagship program, the Consortium for Advanced Research Training in Africa (CARTA)

Education experts say that such gaps have had a negative impact on the universities’ capacity to sustainably educate the next generation of university lecturers and researchers.

Prof. Mike Kuria, Deputy Executive Secretary of IUCEA says there is no curriculum on how to supervise or teach at postgraduate level.

“The future of the quality of higher education in the region depends on the current quality of postgraduate studies. This relies on the number of qualified postgraduate teachers and supervisors. This workshop will try to fill that critical gap,” he said.

CARTA Program Manager, Prof. Peter Ngure, said the workshop will contribute to the ongoing discourse on improving the quality of masters and PhD degrees produced in the region.

“It will provide a forum for leaders of graduate schools to share their experiences and to articulate their vision for producing high quality academia for the job market,” he added.

Dr. Helmut Blumbach, Director of DAAD’s Regional Office in Nairobi pointed out that the focus on graduate training and supervision and the aim of establishing regional standards in this field is part of the longstanding and on-going collaboration of DAAD and IUCEA on quality assurance in higher education.

“There is no quality university education without sufficient numbers of well-trained PhDs. PhD training is the engine room of the university system. If the engine splutters, universities will not meet expectations,” he said.

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