May 25, 2018 at 12:00am ET By Alyssa Walker

A new report sheds some light on why it takes so long for postgraduates to finish their advanced degrees in Kenya. The Inter-University Council for East Africa (IUCEA) from Rwanda explains that there aren't enough PhDs at public universities in Kenya.

Why? The few PhDs there supervise too many students--and PhD students get the short end of the advising stick.

The report suggests, "Supervisors should be more transparent to students and should carry them along throughout the research design and data collection as well as monitor their activities to ensure they don’t deviate from research project plan. Supervisors should not [be assigned to] too many students at the same time."

Many postgraduate students do not have regular access to their advisors and their research--and graduation timetables--suffer. 

The report states that university lecturers with PhDs have 94 advisees, which far exceeds the recommended number of 30. 

Currently, Kenya has 10,000 PhD holders. Last year, and 369 graduates. The country needs 1,000 graduates per year to keep up with demand.

The report also chronicled significant issues among PhD supervisors, including "lack of experience, failure to read thesis, language competence, lack of expertise in area of supervision, delay in reading thesis, and lack of availability or accessibility" according to an article in the Daily Nation. 

What's the improvement plan? Nothing specific in place. Experts hope that the most recent news will help spur a wave of positive change.

Learn more about studying in Kenya. 


Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.

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