It is almost a year now since the system of presenting the thesis (better known as ‘defence’) after university studies was abolished in public universities.
This system was replaced by doing the same research and just handing in the research paper, without having to present it to a panel of your lecturers.
According to public university authorities, the reason why they decided to eliminate this arrangement is that often lecturers on panel would sentimentally give out free marks to students basing on the relationship that existed between them.
Another cause put forward is that, defending schedule proved to be incompatible with the academic calendar since the many students, supposed to undertake this excise, were so many that this exercise forcibly prolonged the academic year.
The university switched from having students present their findings to just handing in research paper because many students, having failed to compile the report (memoir), hired people to do it on their behalf.
All the above reasons were attached to the fact that many universities around the world don’t force their students to defend their thesis, especially when Bachelors degrees are concerned.
However, when I examine the motives behind this decision, I find them baseless.
Especially when I compare it with what those students might have benefited from presenting their thesis papers to a panel.
In my view, all the above reasons for doing away with the ‘defence’ can be dealt with and solutions found, either for the cheats or the tight academic schedule without getting rid of the whole system.
The ‘defence’ was viewed by many as a way of equipping candidates with both physical and verbal presentation skills; skills that are extremely important to someone who is going to have to engage him/herself in different activities after school.
This is so because after university, the majority of graduates start acquiring jobs in ‘big’ offices where they are supposed to undertake duties that range from decision making to presentations to their superiors.
Beside, it seems odd to have someone going through school, from primary to the university and then completing this entire education journey, with out carrying out any tangible scientific presentation and instead just submitting the thesis at the end of it all.
Anyway, what guarantees that students are carrying out this research on their own? One way of finding out whether someone didn’t carry out research on their own is when they present research findings and forget or misinterpret key points.
For those who want to attain their qualifications on merit, this isn’t in their best interest
I advise those people who make decisions like these that it is always better to do research before enacting some of these policies that could bring about long term consequence.
The author is the Editor of Izuba Rirashe Newspaper.